The Big Blue Bus is installing new technology on 12 buses to help drivers avoid preventable accidents.

The Mobileye Shield+ Collision Avoidance System Pilot Program will remain in place for one year at a cost of $124,263 before officials decide if it should be rolled out to all buses.

“As part of the pilot program, Shield+ has been installed on 12 buses; 10 existing 40’ transit buses and two existing 60’ articulated buses,” said a report by Liseth Guizar, Transit Safety and Training Manager. “The 40’ buses are equipped with a four sensor system, while the 60’ buses are equipped with six sensors. The sensors allow for front and side-sensing capability of pedestrians and cyclists in a complex urban environment, including turns and intersections, with outputs to the (driver) that will improve the ability to detect potential collisions with these targets in time to stop the bus. The buses are equipped with three driver alert display modules that alert the (driver), visually and audibly, when the bus is in motion and a pedestrian and/or cyclist is in a danger zone around the bus.”

In addition, the sensors provide warnings of up to 2.7 seconds before a rear end collision, displays the amount of time to the vehicle in front if that time is less than 2.5 seconds, a lane departure warning and a notification to the driver if the bus exceeds the speed limit.

“The system will also provide detailed metrics and reports that staff will use to establish ‘hotspots’ for training and notifying staff of locations where there is a need to be aware of pedestrian and cyclist traffic, as well as work with our partners in the City and service area to improve intersection, bus stop and roadway safety,” said the report.

According to BBB, the system will help account for an expected increase in pedestrian/bike density in Santa Monica. The report said additional bike/pedestrian paths, the downtown pedestrian scrambles and the presence of the Expo Line are all increasing the number of people walking or biking on local roads.

The pilot program will be judged a success if it can reduce preventable collisions by 50 percent, create useful safety reports, provide estimates of cost savings from accidents avoided and develop training processes for future use.

In addition to providing real-time warnings to drivers, the system will be generating data to help map and therefore prevent, accidents.

“The Shield+ Telematics System has the ability to track bus routes and identify where there have been detections and alerts,” said the report. “Using the collected data, Telematics can generate safety reports based on location, drivers, number of detections and other factors. After identifying the potential ‘hotspots,’ BBB can further investigate the possible causes of high number of alerts, allowing BBB to make data-based informed decisions on improvements to its bus routes and/or stops in order to reduce the number of collisions and near misses. In addition, BBB will share the safety reports with the City of Santa Monica’s Mobility Team for their use in identifying potential pedestrian ‘hotspots’ in Santa Monica.”

The system has been tested in Washington State and over the three month pilot the system recorded no pedestrian or forward collisions. The results were considered a success and some agencies are now adopting the program system wide.

Rosco Collision Avoidance, Inc. provides the technology and the one year local pilot program will be funded by bond money from the State.