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New safety measures may reduce pedestrian accident numbers

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The Vision Zero traffic safety program is implementing new projects that employ technological advancements to cut down on accidental injuries and deaths. The latest high tech project has to deal with improving the safety records of buses in the city. It is hoped that pedestrian accident numbers in New York City will be reduced with the new technology.

A 60-day pilot program will deploy two systems on six buses. The buses will be equipped with loud speakers that will warn pedestrians of turns by the buses at intersections. This safety measure would cost $20 million if fully implemented. 

The second system is a network of sensors installed around the bus that will communicate potential collision warnings to the driver. This program will cost $57 million if fully implemented. The blind spots that riddle bus drivers are expected to be less of a problem after implementation of these measures.

The system with the speakers is a simple idea that could have a powerful effect in making pedestrians focus better, in addition to the drivers. The issue of blind spots is well addressed by the loud speakers, which will alert pedestrians to the impending turn of the bus. This will help in those situations where the driver does not have the ability to get a full picture of everything that is taking place on the ground. The measure may be welcomed by bus drivers, who are now bound by the right of way law, making it a criminal misdemeanor to kill or injure a pedestrian or cyclist with the right of way.

Pedestrians make up over half of all traffic fatalities in New York City. Accidents involving buses, taxis and commercial trucks account for 20 percent of pedestrian accident injuries and deaths, according to the Vision Action Plan. The new technology offers hope that many lives will be saved and that the level of safety on the city streets will be significantly higher than before.

Source: nyunews.com, "WSN : MTA experiments with new tech to prevent bus crashes", Thomas Peracchio, Oct. 6, 2015

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