RIPTA hopes new technology will increase pedestrian safety

RIPTA bus

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — “Caution – bus is turning.”

That’s what pedestrians will soon hear whenever a nearby RIPTA bus begins to make a turn of more than 45 degrees. A series of strobe lights will also light up along the side of the bus.

The new technology is part of an effort by the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority to increase passenger and pedestrian safety.

The “Safe Tran Alert System” has been given the green light and will be installed on 210 of the agency’s buses. Two buses have already been outfitted with the technology.

Barbara Polichetti, RIPTA’s Director of Public Affairs, said the system costs $395,000, but it’s a necessary expense.

“We think this is going to be particularly useful in congested areas where people may be distracted by mobile devices or just the activity around them,” she said.

Buses from RIPTA and other local organizations have been involved in a number of collisions with pedestrians over the past few years. In August, a 30-year-old Cumberland woman was struck and killed by a Peter Pan bus in downtown Providence.

RIPTA has been searching for this type of technology for years, according to Polichetti, but recent incidents accelerated the need to make a purchase.

“This would be a great addition for RIPTA as we continue to work for better safety for our passengers and the public,” she added.

Polichetti said that once a Pennsylvania company tried the “Safe Tran Alert System” and found success, RIPTA decided to jump on board.