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Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority Serving Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties

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Make the Safe Choice - Be Aware of Your Surroundings

SEPTA Expands Distracted Commuting Program with Bus Turn Alert Pilot Program

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A new pilot program launched by SEPTA on Monday, March 16, 2015 will audibly warn pedestrians in the vicinity of a bus when the vehicle is making a turn. The "Safe Turn Alert System" pilot is an extension of the Authority's distracted commuter awareness program and designed to warn pedestrians - specifically those engrossed in their phone calls, text messages and music -that the bus is turning.

"We are seeing more cases of people unaware of their surroundings," said Scott Sauer, SEPTA's Chief Officer of System Safety. "The Safe Turn Alert system uses an audio warning and a strobe light to make pedestrians aware that the bus is making a right- or left- hand turn. This is an added layer to our already extensive "Make The Safe Choice" campaign, not only geared toward our customers, but to the millions of area residents and visitors that interact with SEPTA on a daily basis."

Protran's Safe Turn Alert Systems have been installed in 12 SEPTA buses for the pilot program. The device is connected to the bus' steering column and the "Caution Bus Turning" alert is triggered when the operator makes a turn. In addition to the external warnings, an announcement is made to the operator inside the bus.

SEPTA's pilot program will run through October 2015. The Safe Turn Alert-equipped buses will be used on specific routes at each of SEPTA's eight bus districts, operating throughout SEPTA's five county service area. One route per week will use the buses in regular service. "To get an accurate snapshot of the system's functionality, we chose routes where buses make many turns," said Sauer. SEPTA's Callowhill District will test the devices first, beginning with the Route 31 during the week of March 16-22.

"Our Operations, Training, System Safety and Vehicle Engineering and Maintenance Departments will evaluate the system throughout the pilot program," said Sauer. "We will examine the volume of the alerts during turns, reactions of passengers and pedestrians to the audio and visual warnings, additional technical issues and the general upkeep of the system."


SEPTA System Safety, Operations and Training staff will ride the buses at various times and days of the week to review the system in action and gauge public response. Operators will also complete questionnaires about the system after each run. "The public is invited to provide feedback, too, by contacting SEPTA Customer Service at 215-580-7800 or via www.septa.org," said Sauer.

Protran's Safe Turn Alert Systems are currently used by L.A. Metro, Greater Cleveland RTA, PACE Bus (Chicago) and Maryland Transit Administration. "There has been an industry trend to equip vehicles with enhanced safety systems," said Sauer. "If we receive positive evaluations and feedback from the pilot program, SEPTA could add a turn alert system to its bus fleet in the near future," Sauer said.

Safe Turn Alert Bus Route Evaluation Schedule:

Callowhill District
Week of March 16: Route 31
Week of March 23: Route 38
Week of March 30: Route 40
Week of April 6: Route 43
Midvale District
Week of April 13: Route 18
Week of April 20: Route 26
Week of April 27: Route 32
Week of May 4: Route HXH
Victory Division
Week of May 11: Route 103
Week of May 18: Route 108
Week of May 25: Route 111
Week of June 1: Route 119
Comly District
Week of June 8: Route 18
Week of June 15: Route 20
Week of June 22: Route 67
Week of June 29: Route 84
Southern District
Week of July 6: Route 7
Week of July 13: Route 64
Week of July 20: Route 68
Week of July 27: Route G
Allegheny District
Week of August 3: Route 9
Week of August 10: Route 27
Week of August 17: Route 65
Frankford District
Week of August 24: Route 3
Week of August 31: Route 25
Week of September 7: Route 88
Week of September 14: Route R
Frontier District
Week of October 5: Route 96
Week of October 9: Route 127
Week of October 12: Route 98
Week of October 26: Route 139

Additional Resources

Safety tips when riding, information about Operation Lifesaver and the "Make the Safe Choice" campaign, including a video and interactive game for kids, are all available on the Safety and Security section (www.septa.org/safety/) of the SEPTA website.