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.
When official-plated transit authority vehicles were scarce and basically reserved for those in upper management to go about their daily business to and from meetings, etc..., road control would be the responsibility of the “fixed-post foot dispatcher.” Not all of these positions have been eliminated, but I wonder if any readers remember the stability and sense of control that was present while the foot dispatcher was on post?
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."
Bus operators are not blindfolded. Operators are trained and required to identify potential hazards, based on their forward planning skills. With regard to left turns, these so called “blind spots” are really areas behind the left A-pillar/mirror that are “temporarily” obstructed to the operator, not blind to the operator. The key here is for the operators to utilize their observation and forward planning skills to minimize the time that their vision is temporarily obstructed. The pedestrian that regrettably becomes a victim of bus contact should be in the clear view of the operator long before arriving at the location where the contact occurred. Pedestrians are not “coming out of nowhere!"
The world is a very busy place. We rely on our eyes to provide us with information that will keep us from harm as we operate our vehicles. It is difficult to over-emphasize the importance of effective scanning in order to recognize potential hazards early enough so appropriate action can be taken to avoid conflict. As a result, we spend a lot of time advising operators how often they should scan their mirrors, where to look for hazards, and how to bring objects into view that may be temporarily obstructed, and so on.
Today I’d like to mention a few effective policies that were routinely utilized in the past, which were (and for the few agencies that still practice them) very effective in producing safe bus operators, including covering your right, terminal checks and company vehicles.