Battelle, COTA Work to Reduce Bus Accidents

July 30, 2012
New technology on board will help drivers avoid dangerous situations.

Battelle engineers are working to decrease bus accidents by installing technology onboard, starting with a mid-June demonstration on a vehicle from its hometown transit operator.

Battelle engineers did this with the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA), as part of the United States Department of Transportation's (U.S.DOT) Connected Vehicle research program. The demonstration of the technology illustrated how it could help drivers avoid dangerous situations involving other vehicles that share the road.

The wireless technology, which includes 5.9 GHz dedicated short range communication radios and custom software, detects vehicles ahead of the bus that are braking abruptly and alerts the bus driver of a potential collision. Radios on the bus also transmit messages to other equipped vehicles, alerting them of the bus' position, speed and heading. These warnings could prevent other vehicles from rear-ending the bus.

Additionally, there are other facets to the technology. In the near future, the COTA bus will be upgraded by Battelle with the ability to detect the presence of pedestrians in a cross walk before the bus enters a signalized intersection, alerting the driver to a potentially unsafe situation. 

Battelle also will install technology that allows bus drivers to detect if drivers are trying to go around the bus to make a right turn as the bus proceeds from a bus stop. Such maneuvers are common and can result in a collision between the bus and the passing vehicle. Battelle's new technology will alert the bus driver of drivers and attempt to predict whether the vehicle will potentially cut off the bus.

Once the technology is tested in Columbus, Battelle will install the technology on three transit buses in Ann Arbor, Michigan to participate in the U.S.DOT-sponsored Connected Vehicle Safety Pilot Model Deployment. The Model Deployment will be a large-scale test of various safety applications on a variety of vehicle types driven by members of the public on public roads.

Beginning in August 2012, the Model Deployment will last for a period of 12 months and is intended to test the effectiveness of the safety applications installed in the test vehicles, and the overall effectiveness of the deployed safety system capability. The Model Deployment will include more than 2,800 light, heavy, and transit vehicles (all equipped with program-developed safety technologies), which will operate in a predefined geographic area in Ann Arbor. The goal of the deployment is to enhance the interaction of such vehicles in a real-world environment, and examine the overall interoperability, scalability, user acceptance, reliability and other implementation issues.

To learn more about the Safety Pilot Model Deployment and the Connected Vehicle research program please visit