FAAC Incorporated

FAAC Driving Simulator Provides Solutions for Rural Transit Challenges

For years, urban transit agencies have been using driver training simulators to reduce pedestrian injuries and liability exposure.

Rural transit operators face the same daily hazards, along with their own unique challenges, and can likewise benefit from the power of virtual reality training. This is the message FAAC Inc. will deliver to the National Rural Transit Assistance Program during their national training conference in March.

“We intend to show the level of engagement that is possible when students are asked to perform tasks without a safety net,” said Steve Mentzer, FAAC’s manager of Transit Simulations.

“When training is done using real vehicles, the collision never happens. The instructor is forced to intervene to prevent damages from occurring as the student learns. In the simulator, we can present the same risks, but the student maintains control of the outcome throughout the event. If mistakes are made, the instructor can then replay the driving sequence to review the actions that took place preceding the collision and diagnose the root cause. Then, corrective actions can be instilled to arm the student with the practical knowledge needed to prevent such incidents during passenger service.”

Rural agencies have some unique challenges, and FAAC representatives are excited to show how simulators can be used as a training tool to address RTAP members’ training needs, not only for new hires, but for refresher, corrective action, and annual qualification as well.

Traditional barriers to simulation for rural agencies have been cost and the vast geographical distance between driver locations. Mentzer said he hopes at the RTAP conference to dispel these concerns by showing the wide range of product and service solutions that align with RTAP members’ objectives, which may include mobile simulator classrooms, rentals, federal grant funding, collaborations with risk pools, and sharing resources.

FAAC’s participation at the RTAP conference (Radisson, Fort McDowell Hotel near Scottsdale, Ariz.) includes:

  • 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday, March 19: hosting an open demonstration day with simulators at the conference in a classroom adjacent to the exhibit hall.
  • 9:15 – 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 20: Presentation session - an overview of simulator training.
  • 10:45 – noon Tuesday, March 20: Presentation session - methods and best practices of instructors who use simulators to promote learning for new hires (core skills training).
  • 1:45 – 3:15 p.m. Tuesday, March 20: Presentation session - methods and best practices of instructors who use simulators to promote learning for veteran operators (refresher, return to work, and remedial training).