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September 30, 2011

'Missing the Boat' With Your Transit Simulator?

by Louie Maiello - Also by this author

Simulator training within the 'transit industry' is unique in its application as an affordable and necessary option. Those of you who feel that teaching bus operator basic skills on a simulator cannot be done are missing the boat! You are short-changing yourself and your operators. I firmly believe that basic skill development is its primary function and the most effective way to utilize your simulator when dealing with new hires. Allow me to list a few of the basic skills that, when taught early on, will become the foundation of a knowledgeable and attentive operator:

  • bus stop approach
  • bus stop departure
  • right turns
  • left turns
  • intersection approach, proceeding through and exiting
  • ADA requirements and applications
  • backing
  • 'covering' the right
  • 'covering' the brake
  • proper front and side clearances
  • lane placement
  • highway entry and exit
  • forward planning
  • pivot point comprehension
  • proper set up and utilization of mirrors
  • proper steering
  • directional use
  • operating within the depot (drillers/shifters)

As you can see, there are many basic skills to be taught and many more I can list, but you get the idea. These are exactly the things that should be taught on the simulator, supplementing 'live' training on the bus. The one important difference is the trainee can make mistakes at no cost and no loss of life. Mastering these formulas will minimize collisions. Likewise, an instructor who walks away from the simulator and allows the trainee to simply drive with no instructor /student management is useless. You are encouraging bad driving behavior. You may as well list your simulator on eBay!  

If you are attending the APTA Expo and either have a driving simulator (from any manufacturer) or are considering purchasing one, I encourage you to stop by FAAC booth #5621. Be part of the demos and learning experience. Observe what is being done in the simulator via the exterior floor monitor and hear the dialogue between instructor/student as I will be wired for sound. Witness firsthand the meaning of instructor-student management within the simulator. Bring me your training challenges and top collisions, and let's discuss and discover that, yes, simulator training is an affordable option and basic skill development is the way to go!

Get on board and 'watch the closing doors.'

In case you missed it...

Read our METRO blog, "OCTA CEO:Kick-starting new routines this fall for commuters," here.

 

Louie Maiello


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  • John Fabian, Chief Investigator, NYS PTSB[ September 30th, 2011 @ 11:32am ]

    I agree with your use of a simulator for training of initial hires. This allows a process to take place which I have lectured about comparing natural reaction vs. habit formation. Without training, especially on something new to a person like driving a bus, natural reactions contribute to many accidents. Pumping the (air) brakes to build pressure, fast swerves or driving off the roadway to avoid a potential collision (creating a far more critical crash), overly expressing emotion and anger equal to the unruly passenger are just a few examples. Thru the process of repeated sequential training exercises, using a simulator to avoid real accidents, the safety trainer can create new positive, accurate, desirable habits that over time become natural reactions. These habits must also be regularly practiced to keep the brain honed. Habit formation with humans may not be quite as easy as Pavlov's dogs, but the results are life saving worthwhile.

  • Lawson[ September 30th, 2011 @ 11:56am ]

    What would be the cost to the Hawaii Transportation Association to use as part of its driver improvement program in Hawaii?

  • Bruce Seibel, Safety/Training Manager, GET Bakersf[ October 19th, 2011 @ 10:53am ]

    If you haven't had a chance to see this simulator I would recommend you do so. This enhancement to any training program can be nothing but positive. Just keep in mind if you save one life you will have paid for the simulator!!!

  • Louie Maiello[ October 19th, 2011 @ 3:42pm ]

    Hi Bruce, It was great meeting with you at the APTA Expo in New Orleans. Based on your comment, you obviously "get it!" All the best, Louie

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Author Bio

Louie Maiello

Louie Maeillo is a Sr. Consultant (Transit Training & Simulation), L-3 / DPA Independent Consultant, Bus Talk Surface Transit Solutions


Jason Palmer

President, SmartDrive Systems

Palmer is the president of SmartDrive Systems, a leader in providing comprehensive, video-based operator performance and safety programs to help transit agencies achieve operational safety and efficiency, protect operators and the public, and lower costs overall.


Barak Israel

product manager

Barak Israel is product marketing manager for the security domain for NICE Systems Inc.


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