R&D Group Testing Wireless Technology for Transit Buses to Improve Traffic Safety

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Engineers at Battelle, one of the largest independent research and development firms in the world, launched a demonstration vehicle last month that tests technology that could reduce bus crashes.

The pilot is being performed on a Central Ohio Transit Authority bus as part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Connected Vehicle research program. The transit bus is equipped with wireless technology that includes a 5.9 GHz dedicated, short-range communications radio with custom software to detect other vehicles ahead of the bus that are braking abruptly.

The system notifies the bus driver of a potential collision, a type of crash-avoidance technology recommended by the National Transportation Safety board following its investigation into the fatal Gray Summit, Mo., school bus caravan crash in August 2010.

Battelle said it will add technology to the bus that detects pedestrians in a cross walk before the bus enters a signalized intersection. Additional equipment will be installed to alert the bus driver of other motorists who attempt to pass the stopped bus.

Following test results, Battelle added that it will install this technology in three Ann Arbor, Mich., transit buses next month as part of the U.S.DOT-sponsored Connected Vehicle Safety Pilot Model Deployment that examines the overall interoperability, scalability, user acceptance, reliability and other implementation issues.