FTSN Committee Meeting – This was structured to be an opportunity to briefly meet with each of your chairs/co-chairs and member of your committee. Each committee had approximately 15 minutes to touch base and, perhaps establish a meeting date for first teleconference, and identify discussion topics for that meeting. No committee meetings were held concurrently. Committees met in the Embassy Suites Boardroom (also located on the second floor). Committees met in the following order: Collisions, Driver Fatigue, Operator and Passenger Safety, and Distracted Driving.
During these “speed-dating” sessions, committee members spent time introducing themselves and briefly addresses those subjects that they would like to focus on moving forward. For the Collisions Committee, the suggested a focus on rear-end and fixed object collisions. For the Driver Fatigue Committee, one of the most important issues identified was other outside NON-DRIVING employment and the significant contribution this makes to overall driver fatigue. The Operator and Passenger Safety Committee quickly discussed the ongoing issue with driver assaults and the experiences agencies are having with driver cages/separators. The increasing incidence of assaults of transit passengers was also discussion. The Distracted Driving Committee reiterated the ongoing issue with wireless distractions – especially with other drivers, but also mentioned the onboard conditions that may lead to driver distractions including conversations with passengers, and agency issued communication and other equipment.
FTSN Workshop Activities – There were interactive activities during this time. This was held in the location where committee members gathered prior to/after the breakout session for their individual committee.
A vibrant discussion took place among FTSN members that rotated in and out of the committee meetings. The conversation was facilitated by Bill Morris of CUTR and revolved around how transit agencies are managing technology, training, operations and risk management related to rear-end collisions.
The discussion kicked off with a view of two different rear bus panels from transit agencies. One had a distinctive paint graphic and the other was a basic blue color. The group generally agreed that lighter colors were easier to see than darker colors, potentially leading to fewer collisions. A lighted “STOP” sign was seen as preferable to other lighting treatments such as stop bars or excessive dome lighting (although PSTA found no lighted stop treatment was particularly helpful). Where stop lights are used on Gillig buses, the larger 7” lights are preferable to the smaller specifications that are found on the more recent series.
Technology was found useful particularly with respect to cameras, although not on the rear of the bus. Additionally, participants stated that G-force sensors can give some indication as to whether the bus operator braked hard before the collision. LAMTD is looking forward to the new ITS system it is installing to assist in safety.
Most participants expressed a similar training and protocol for operators when experiencing rear ended accidents: Operators notify supervisor and/or dispatch, check on bus occupants, and get a manifest of passengers. When supervisors arrive they typically interact with law enforcement and initiate reporting. Space Coast Area Transit indicated they train operators to get info from the other vehicle.
Issues that were explored included:
- Operators using signals vs. 4-way stop signals when stopping
- Operators feeling rushed to keep schedule may lead to abrupt stopping
- Training operators for road conditions, including “seasonal” impact of snow birds and/or tourists to the state
A discussion followed about what happens if operators do not follow policy – most indicated corrective action would be taken, and the review of the incident with supervisors, and possible consequences if the operator was found at fault. There was a debate over stop placement and how that may influence rear end collisions. Far-side stops to the intersection have traditionally been preferred, yet may lead to some rear-end collisions where motorists behind the bus may be accelerating to beat a red light.
A variety of risk management procedures were discussed. In Gainesville, RTS-Risk Department responds to the scene of accident and in Collier County, the Safety manager responds to scene of accident. Agencies use the standard forms for incidents/accidents which include operator, supervisor, and customer forms, as well as video and digital photos. If possible, some agencies use videos from adjacent area businesses (when available).
Agencies are also actively utilizing Accident Review Boards for investigations. When it comes to information regarding cost/loss of incidents/accidents, agencies can get the information if necessary.
LeeTran requests meetings with Risk Management and the county attorney to get a better understanding of cost/loss. It was noted that the transit agencies have a better understanding and the expertise to investigate bus incidents/accidents, sometimes better than the responding law enforcement.
Safety Project Presentations (+Q/A & Discussion)
- Bill Morris and Chris DeAnnuntis of CUTR updated the FTSN on their project titled, Evaluation of Rear-End Bus Collisions and Identification of Possible Solutions
- Due to time constraints, Lisa Staes of CUTR was unable to presented the findings from her FTA sponsored project – Transit Safety Research Roadmap – National Transit Database, Transit Safety Trends (Motorbus/Demand Response). This will be rescheduled for a later meeting.
- Lisa Staes and Jay Goodwill of CUTR finished the safety project presentations with Bus Operator Issues Examination and Model Practices
FTSN Member Discussion Period
- Paul Goyette from LeeTran distributed background information and letters from Gillig and New Flyer regarding safety issue related to the front flip up seating on their buses. Some FTSN members reported permanently folding these seats up to ensure no passengers would use them.
- Diana Byrnes from CUTR spoke to the FTSN to share that the Substance Abuse Management Resource website is undergoing an overhaul and will link with the FTSN website. Diana informed the group she can provide TSI Substance Abuse Training within the State of Florida and they should be looking to get out in front on the coming requirements of MAP-21.
- Annual Transit Safety Summit (June 2, 2014) – Jay Goodwill of CUTR stated a full day safety summit will take place on June 2, 2014, a day before the FPTA professional development workshop on June 3rd and 4th. The agenda for the summit is underdevelopment, although it is expected the management, supervisor and lead employee staff in attendance of the PDW will be asked what types of training they would like to see in the future.
Next FTSN meeting (end of April 2014) – Details and agenda are forthcoming.