Dramatic Dip in Accidents for Texas Transit Agency

April 26, 2018
Cameras, training and communication help Citibus Lubbock achieve more than a 30-percent reduction in accidents — and it keeps getting better.

The operations staff at Citibus in Lubbock, Texas, was challenged by their general manager, Maurice Pearl, to reduce the number of accidents experienced by their fleet. They've far exceeded expectations in just a year's time. 

The initial goal at the start of 2017 was to reduce preventable accidents by 10 percent. As of mid-April 2018, the scorecard looks like this:

  • Preventable Accidents — down 31 percent
  • Non-Preventable Accidents — down 46 percent
  • Fixed Objects — down 39 percent
  • Total Accidents — down 37 percent

“In the last 12 months, we’ve made it a goal to instill an attitude of safety and security in all of our employees," Pearl said. "We believe that this has played a large role in improving communication, training practices and the overall consistency that has led to our decrease in accidents.”

Chris Mandrell, director of safety, security and mobility services, led the effort. "The first thing we did was create three full-time trainers, drawing from some of our more experienced operators," Mandrell says. "We made sure they understood our goals. From there they helped get our drivers behind it."

Scott Drainville, director of fixed route, university and maintenance operations, has also played an instrumental role. "Our trainers looked hard at our existing training methods and found ways to make them better and more consistent. They even helped make instructional videos on virtually every process, right down to deploying ramps. The way we train has become standard procedure across the organization."

Cameras and communication

Communication has been another key tactic. Tori Perkins, marketing development manager, has been tasked with maintaining a steady flow of safety communications through bulletin board postings and safety messages projected on a flat screen in the driver breakroom.

Another big boost has resulted from the implementation of security cameras. Citibus has installed cameras on all fixed-route buses: six cameras on the inside and two more on the outside. "The video footage has allowed us to look at what the issues really were when there was an incident," Drainville said. "Most of the time, the issue comes down to complacency. That comes down to training."

The camera system is set up so that if the G-force ever falls outside of a normal range, an alarm is triggered. "At night when the bus returns to the depot, those alarms are automatically downloaded," Mandrell explained. "From there we randomly select alarms to review. Sometimes a driver just hits a bump in the road. Other times the driver might turn right and go over curb. Sometimes it's isolated to just that driver or route, while other times it's something we feel needs to be communicated across the organization. The trainers can utilize the video footage for training purposes."

If there ever is an accident, Mandrell said he automatically downloads the footage. "If it's a preventable accident, we'll watch the footage with the operator," he pointed out. "That way we can analyze it together and come up with corrective action together."

Citibus Lubbock has also changed the way it operates its accident review committee, which meets monthly. "We now have a combination of supervisors and operators," Mandrell said. "We watch video footage and read reports, and then analyze as a group to determine what happened and how we can prevent it in the future. What's great now is that the committee is made up of peers. Our drivers are all talking to each other more and sharing ideas."

Citibus has been operating in Lubbock for 35 years. The management company is RATP Dev. RATP Dev has been instrumental in communicating and working with Citibus Management by providing safety-related materials and training resources. Citibus operates service for Texas Tech University, paratransit service, and is a Medicaid subcontractor for LogistiCare. The Citibus fleet includes 129 vehicles, 108 of which are fixed-route buses. A total of 185 people are employed, 140 of whom are bus operators; 40 of them are part-time.



July 18, 2012