MTA buses testing new safety technology

NEW YORK (WABC) -- New safety systems are being tested on MTA buses.

The technology being tested is aimed at improving safety for drivers, customers and pedestrians.

It includes pedestrian-turn warnings and collision-avoidance systems. The testing is set to continue in a pilot program in 2016 on 200 buses in the fleet.

The program is an effort to curb collisions involving pedestrians and buses.

"It's very efficient. If a person is this far or close it starts telling me it's already there. Picks em up right away," said bus driver Salvatore Perrotta, rolling out the agency's two new technologies.

With pedestrian-turn warnings, if a pedestrian comes too close, there would be an announcement on a loudspeaker warning the person to back off: "Caution bus is turning. Caution bus is turning."

In the collision avoidance system, a set of sensors are installed on the bus, covering the front of the bus and the entire side.

"When you're making a turn and a person is coming towards you this one starts flashing yellow," said Perrotta. "And as you get closer it gets red, someone's coming down the right side. And in the front if someone is coming towards you when you're coming towards them this thing goes from green, to red and starts beeping red."

MTA officials say half a dozen buses will use the new equipment for 60 days during a test period, because there are still some kinks to work out.

"Some of the issues going in is whether or not the technology can differentiate real hazards from just an object," said the MTA's Steve Vidal.
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