Some pedestrians in Maryland are being warned a bus is turning at the street corner -- by the bus itself.
The safety system - already being used in some cities - is being tested on 10 buses operated by the Maryland Transit Administration. MTA's main bus service area is in Baltimore.
Sensors on the bus detect when the steering wheel turns and a pair of external speakers are used to announce pedestrians that the turn is coming. There's also an internal speaker with the same message for the driver.
Pedestrians, bus is turning. Pedestrians, bus is turning, a loud voice from a pair of speakers outside the bus states.
MTA spokesman Terry Owens says the MTA's engineers are always on the lookout for ways to boost safety.
We are interested in embracing anything that's going to help us improve safety on the system, he said. One accident involving a pedestrian is one accident too many. If there is technology that's available to help us we will consider it seriously.
The tests, which were announced last week, will last two months. Systems from two companies - ProTran 1 and Clever Devices - are being considered to roll out the technology on more buses if the test is successful.
Owens says that system installation will cost between $1500 and $2500 per bus, although it's too soon to tell what the final price will be.
In making its evaluation of the systems, the Administration will hear from drivers and also wants input from pedestrians and passengers.
Want to hear from our operators, certainly from the street. One of the speakers is placed directly overhead and they're getting the message all day, he said.