Transit agencies today face a complex set of issues: budgets are shrinking while demand for public transportation and ridership are increasing at a record pace.
Agencies striving to meet service demands and overcome budgetary pressures are continuing to make safety of operators and riders a priority, however, it’s not always something that can be given a huge investment. What we’ve seen, though, is that investing in safety can actually work to the benefit of agencies in terms of efficiency increases and cost reductions.
A prime example of this is with Veolia Transportation, a private sector operator of multiple modes of transit in North America. The company saw a relatively small investment in safety systems turn into big cost savings — specifically, a $5 million drop in annual claims cost.
Back in May 2011
A driving event captured by SmartDrive has been scored and prioritized.
, Veolia started implementing SmartDrive’s on-board video and safety program on vehicles across the U.S. Veolia has always been an organization focused on safety. Their major safety initiative, 300:29:1, identifies and eliminates the unsafe acts that can accumulate and lead to an accident. The rationale: for every 300 unsafe acts, 29 potential collisions and one catastrophic loss will occur. They’ve coined the phrase “Prevent the 300
” to keep the priority in mind.
As part of its goal to “Prevent the 300,” Veolia has long supported the use of on-board video on its vehicles. After using another system that wasn’t meeting its needs, Veolia switched to SmartDrive Safety
, which combines video with a critical analysis component. The video provides a consistent and objective view of the operator, vehicle and environment, and then, SmartDrive Safety experts analyze, score and prioritize the data before sending it to Veolia. These experts identify unsafe driving maneuvers, highlight good driving skills and document rider issues — giving safety managers actionable and prioritized tools to coach operators on their individual performance.
Since starting the program, Veolia has seen some amazing increases in safety including:
• Decrease in following at an unsafe distance by 79%.
• Drop in speeding by 88%.
• Reduction in collision frequency by 52%.
• 94% of unfastened seat belts now being fastened.
Importantly, Veolia made their investment back — and then some — with the $5 million drop in annual claims cost.
In the end, safety programs can be a key component in helping transit agencies overcome today’s operational and budgetary pressures by increasing efficiency, saving lives and reducing costs.
To read the entire case study on how Veolia is “preventing the 300” and saving money with SmartDrive, visit http://smartdrive.net/documents/veolia-transportation-case-study.pdf
In case you missed it...
Read our METRO blog, "San Antonio transit agency turns to advanced vehicles to protect air quality."
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.
Operating a fixed-route bus in today’s distracted world requires high levels of focus and concentration. The brain must continually sift through loads of information during bus operation to determine what things can be ignored and what things pose a potential threat to our safety and well-being. Once the brain detects a potential hazard or threat, a specific response must occur to keep us from harm’s way. When our brains are forced to sustain this level of effort for long periods of time a great deal of energy is required.
It’s no secret that I am a firm believer in bus simulator training. I enjoyed the benefits of utilizing simulators as a supplemental training tool during my days at New York City Transit. The simulators helped us produce outstanding results by targeting specific outcomes. If your simulator training is not producing what you expected it to deliver, the answer is plain and simple: something is wrong!
One agency decided to conduct a “safety blitz” to determine whether mirrors were being set correctly and discovered, much to their surprise, that a growing number of operators were leaving the yard in a mad rush to avoid being late — deciding to adjust their mirrors at their first available opportunity. What they learned was that many of these operators left the yard with every intention of setting their mirrors correctly. However, once these operators began servicing their routes — the task appeared to "slip their minds."
In most organizations, 80% to 95% of all bus operators are found to be safe, reliable and courteous, but often, they don’t know it because nobody tells them. If safe bus operation represents a core value for your property, what are you leaders doing to encourage and reinforce the desired behaviors among your bus operators?
Those of you who take a few minutes each month to follow my blogs, or have attended one of my past presentations at transit events, first let me thank you. These blogs and presentations, in combination, have been promoting surface transit standards in a form of a standardized curriculum for over 10 years now. I ask you, are we not long overdue in getting transit specific standards a done deal? By the time of this posting, I would have again stood before a group of transit professionals at a recently attended transit function in Orlando, Fla., speaking on this exact topic.