Management & Operations

Pittsburgh Port Authority tests side collision systems

Posted on May 1, 2001

The Port Authority of Allegheny County in Pittsburgh installed side detection systems on its buses in a $1.8 million field test of side collision systems. Done in collaboration with Collision Avoidance Systems (CAS), Carnegie-Mellon University, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), 100 Blind-Sight side detection systems were installed on the Port Authority’s 40-foot transit buses. Manufactured by CAS, the warning devices outfit each bus with 12 sensors (six on each side) that use ultrasonic waves to detect objects alongside of it. “The purpose of the test is to determine if ‘off-the-shelf’ technology can be applied in an urban environment and be effective in reducing side impact collisions on transit buses,” said Kris Weeks, project manager at CAS. Side collision systems initially were developed for the trucking industry. This marks the first time that this technology will be field tested for the transit industry. “Side collisions are the most common collision for transit,” said Bob Grove of the Port Authority. “You can always improve safety and we think this technology deserves a long look to see if this is the way we can improve it.” The sensors installed on the buses are hooked up to a central computer that alerts operators visually and audibly when an object is detected. Yellow lights will illuminate in either mirror and, if the turn signal is on, a sound will go off in addition to the lights. It costs $2,600 per system, including installation.

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