Pierce Transit honored with national award for collision avoidance system

Metro Magazine has named Pierce Transit one of three transit agencies nationwide to receive its annual Innovative Solutions Award. The award is given to transit organizations and their partners that implement new initiatives to improve training, save money, run more efficiently, streamline operations or improve safety.

Pierce Transit was given the award for piloting the Mobileye Collision Avoidance System on seven of its buses currently in service. Pierce Transit has been testing the technology since September 2015. The official pilot project, which involves several transit agencies in Washington, ran from January through June 2016. The Washington State Transit Insurance Pool organized and funded the pilot, and the University of Washington will conduct an analysis of its success and issue a report in the summer of 2017.

The Mobileye Collision Avoidance System helps prevent vehicle-to-pedestrian accidents by alerting the bus operator that a collision may be immanent. An intelligent vision sensor works like a bionic eye, identifying an extensive variety of potential hazards on the road such as vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians. The distance and speeds of these objects are continuously monitored to calculate the risk of the vehicle colliding with them. The driver receives visual and audible alerts when pedestrians and cyclists are in the danger zones near the bus, allowing the operator to take corrective action. The system also alert operators when their vehicle exceeds the posted speed limit and if they are in danger of a rear-end collision.

Pierce Transit’s preliminary results using Mobileye have been encouraging, showing an increase in speed compliance and following distance, and fewer pedestrian collision warnings than the control group, which was monitoring potential collisions and speed but not alerting operators. Overall, Pierce Transit’s safety score, as measured by Mobileye, improved from 62 in September 2015 to its current safety rating of 92 (based on a scale of 0 to 100). Secondary to saving lives and reducing injuries, Pierce Transit expects to see significant claims cost savings and a reduction in operating costs as a result of using Mobileye. Pierce Transit is applying for a federal grant to equip all of its buses with collision avoidance technology.

“I am pleased to see Pierce Transit leading among transit agencies in embracing this new technology,” said Pierce Transit Board Chair Kent Keel. “Pierce County is continuing to grow and we will only see more buses, pedestrians and bicyclists sharing our roadways. It’s important to use whatever tools we can to keep everyone as safe as possible.”

– Pierce Transit