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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

TriMet Puts "Pedestrian Warning System" on Buses

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Tue, Mar 1, 2011 at 9:59 AM

As of today, ten TriMet buses will be getting a new soundsystem. Not to play music, but to utter a grave warning each time the bus turns.

On the ten route 14 and 15 buses will be outfitted with an external announcement system that will trigger every time the steering wheel turns, belting out “PEDESTRIANS, THE BUS IS TURNING” One can only hope the recording will resemble the Voice of God. This is part of the safety measures TriMet is implementing after a driver plowed into five people, killing two, as she made a turn downtown last spring.

I have some questions about this (such as: How is this more effective than a horn?; Will the warning actually lead to more crashes as people stop and look up to say, "WTF?"; Will the warning grind into our skulls like other noise pollution until we ignore it completely, like car alarms?; Will this actually prevent more deaths, seeing as how it wasn't the pedestrians' fault they didn't get out of the way of the TriMet bus last spring, it was the driver who made an illegal turn and didn't see them?; Should TriMet instead be installing sensors that tell driver, "Drivers, there are pedestrians in front of your bus"?; Will Laurence Fishburne be doing the recording? Because, if not, I am retroactively withdrawing my vote for the last TriMet bond measure.) but generally I am hopeful that this will be yet another maybe useful BandAid on roads that are dangerous by design.

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