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Center Identification Number:  77610      


Project Title:  Moving the Bus Back Into Traffic Safely   


Co-Principal Investigators:        


Pei-Sung Lin, PhD, PE, PTOE


Huagao Zhou, PE, PhD


Center for Urban Transportation Research

University of South Florida

Fax: 813-974-5168


External Project Contact:     


Amy W. Datz
Florida Department of Transportation
Office of Public Transportation
605 Suwannee St. MS 26, Tallahassee Fl. 32399-0450
(850) 414-4239, (SC) 994-4239 FAX (850) 414-4508 


I.  Project Objective/Problem Statement

A study was performed in Florida to explore the factors that contribute to bus accidents near bus stops. This research studied all crash reports involving transit vehicles for incidents from 1998 to 2002 over all state roadways within Florida. This study of transit accidents resulted in the development of recommendations to address the accident (crash) problems found through the research. The results of that study indicated that 47% of all crashes during the 5 years studied were rear-end collisions. The crash data do not specify if a bus bay or pull out was present. It was concluded that one of the primary causes of rear-end crashes at a bus bay or pull out was the failure of traffic to yield to buses reentering the traffic stream from a stop, bus bay, or pull out. Florida has a “Yield to Bus” law (Florida Statute 316.0815) that requires traffic to yield to buses re-entering the traffic stream. However, this only applies to buses leaving a pull-out bay.

The overall objective of the project is to help improve transit service by improving on-time schedules and the quality of service by assisting transit vehicles in safely reentering the traffic stream.

Where state roads are congested or carry high-speed traffic, operational devices and/or controls may be installed on buses or on the roadside to assist in the safe entry of buses into the state road travel lanes. A study should be completed to provide recommendations that would lead to the adoption of roadside signage and/or pavement markings in compliance with the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) that would help to reduce rear-end collisions when buses are merging back into traffic.

Additionally, to reduce the occurrence of rear end collisions with buses, an improvement of lighting configurations on the back of buses should be studied. A specific study of lighting configurations should be completed to improve auto driver awareness of the presence and operation of the buses and standardize the lighting configurations on buses.

II.  Objectives/Tasks

This project has three primary objectives:

1) Recommendations for MUTCD-compliant signage and pavement markings to address Yield to Bus safety issues;

2) Recommendations to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on lighting configurations and/or signage for the back of transit buses that will be expected to reduce rear-end collisions; and

3) Recommendations for draft statutory language or modifications to existing statutes that would be needed to help increase viability of the Yield to Bus law.

The proposed scope of services for this project consists of the following tasks:

Task 1. Establishment of Steering Committee

A project advisory committee consisting of representatives from organizations such as the Florida Public Transportation Association (FPTA), FDOT Traffic Engineering, FDOT Roadway Design, the Florida Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles (DHSMV), and Local Transit Agencies will be organized to provide guidance and oversight throughout the project. CUTR’s Microsoft Office Live Meeting online communication services will be utilized to facilitate the committee meetings in an effective and cost efficient manner.

Task 2. Literature Review

The researchers will review and summarize all known previous studies, manuals, and standards conducted by industry groups related to roadside signage, and the lighting configuration and signage on the backs of buses that have contributed to the improvement of transit safety in other states and other countries. The results of this task will help provide the overview of the different types of roadside signage, pavement marking, and lighting configurations offered; document the safety effects of these various types; and identify the designs and electronic equipment that have been successful in reducing the crashes due to the failure of traffic to yield to buses reentering the traffic stream from a stop, bus bay or pull out. The research team will also identify how this can best be authorized through state and federal standards. The researchers will also gather data on statutes, regulations, and enforcement provisions that have been put in place in these other locations to support the safe reentry of the bus into the traffic stream.

Task 3. Overview of Roadside Signage Design

Utilizing the results of Task 2, an overview of the different types of design of roadside signage offered throughout the United States and the world will be developed. This overview will include an examination of the appropriate wording, size, colors and placement within the traffic stream which would be appropriate to help remedy this safety concern. The safety effects of each type of signage will be evaluated. A hazard analysis will be conducted to determine if any potentially hazardous situations are created or would be expected to result from the proposed lighting and sign installation and operation.

Task 4. Overview of Bus Lighting Configuration and Signage Design

Utilizing information from the Task 2, an overview of the different types of lighting and signage on the backs of buses (including school buses and emergency vehicles) offered throughout the world will be developed. Those features that would contribute to the improvement of transit safety as the buses move from a stopped position to pick up passengers to resuming their movement in the traffic stream will be identified and documented. The safety effects of different types of lighting configurations and signage on the backs of buses will be evaluated.

Task 5. Documentation of Best Practices

Based upon the literature review and the overview of the different types of signage and lighting configurations, a selected number of the successful signage designs and electronic lighting systems will be examined in greater depth and documented in succinct “Best Practices” case study summaries. This may include on-site visits and/or follow up discussions with key agency representatives.

Task 6. Develop Recommendations

This task will utilize the findings of the previous tasks to recommend the best signage design both on the roadside and on the back of buses and the most effective electronic lighting systems for the back of buses. This recommended configuration could be a combination of different parts of the various best practices identified in Task 5. The recommended configuration will be presented to the Steering Committee and circulated amongst their respective agencies for comments.

Under this task, CUTR will also develop procedures for conducting case studies to evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed improvements. Once these procedures are developed, a second phase project should be proposed to conduct these case studies and provide a thorough evaluation.

Task 7. Final Report

The final task of the research will summarize the results of the previous tasks in order to develop a report on the “Moving the Bus into Traffic Safely-Signage and Lighting Configuration”. The report will be designed in a clear, concise summary format that will facilitate easy reading and application by FDOT project managers and public transit professionals. Additionally, CUTR will prepare documents for submittal to the National Committee on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (NCUTCD) and NHTSA detailing the recommended standard design configuration of traffic control devices and lighting.

CUTR will also prepare a two-page summary of the final recommended signing, marking, and lighting configuration for inclusion in the Accessing Transit handbook. The prepared summary will be incorporated into that document by others.

The draft final report will be edited for grammar, clarity, organization, and readability prior to submission to the Department for technical approval. The editor providing the review will sign a cover sheet attesting to such review prior to submission. The provision for editorial services will be the Principal Investigator’s responsibility (the author or a designated party may perform the review). It is expected that a well-written, high-quality report will be submitted. Reports failing to meet this requirement will summarily be rejected. The only changes allowable between the draft final report and the final report will be those changes requested by the Project Manager and the Research Center.

CUTR will coordinate the project with the steering committee identified above to ensure the scope and activities are consistent with Florida DOT’s Public Transit Office’s goals and objectives. It is understood that travel by CUTR and the FDOT Project Manager, within the budget of the project, will be necessary for collecting information, attending project review meetings, and related conferences in order to gather and share information related to the project mission. Particular locations where CUTR staff may travel within the State of Florida include Tallahassee, Orlando, and Miami. Travel throughout the U.S. may include those cities where the special signage or lighting configurations have been implemented.

III. Deliverables

Deliverables for this project will include the following:

Quarterly Progress Reports – Progress Reports will be submitted on a quarterly basis to the Research Center for processing. The first Quarterly Report will become due 3 months after a Notice to Proceed is issued to the consultant by the Department. They will be sent in MS Word or PDF format to Sandra Bell, Research Coordinator via the contact information shown below.

Quarterly reports will include the following information:

(1) Contract Number, Work Order Number and Title
(2) Work performed during the quarter
(3) Work to be performed next quarter
(4) Requested modifications (i.e., to funding, schedule, or scope)
(5) An updated schedule

Technical Memorandum 1 – Technical Memorandum 1 will summarize the findings of the first four tasks: the establishment of the project advisory committee, the literature review, the overview of roadside signage design, and the overview of bus lighting configuration and signage.

Technical Memorandum 2 – Technical Memorandum 2, to be submitted at the end of Task 6, will document the best practices of roadside signage, and the lighting configurations and signage on the backs of buses, and summarize related research efforts.

Final Report – Following the completion of Task 7, a Draft Final Report will be submitted for review. Upon approval, a Final Report will be submitted in printed (12 copies) and electronic format (Word). A project summary (in Word) will also be submitted with the Final Report, per FDOT format. Additionally, reports designed to be delivered to NCUTCD and NHTSA will be delivered regarding the recommended configuration of signing, pavement marking, and lighting. A two-page summary for the Accessing Transit handbook will also be delivered.

NOTE: All written deliverables will be submitted in electronic format to the Research Center for processing. Electronic reports will be e-mailed to Sandra Bell at Hard copies will be sent to the following address:

Sandra Bell, Research Contracts Administrator
Florida Department of Transportation
605 Suwannee Street, MS 30
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0450


IV.  Project Schedule


RESEARCH 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Task 1 2     1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Establishment of Steering Committee 100%                                  
Task 2   2 2 2     1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Literature Review   20% 56% 95% 100%                          
Task 3 1 1     2 2               1 1 1 1 1
Overview of Roadside Signage Design       33% 67% 100%                        
Task 4 1 1       2 2             1 1 1 1 1
Overview of Bus Lighting Configuration and Signage Design         33% 72% 100%                      
Task 5 1 1 1 1                       1 1 1
Documentation of Best Practices               40% 100%                  
Task 6 1 1 1 1 1 1 1                   1 1
Develop Recommendation                 12% 56% 100%              
Task 7 1 1 1 1 1 1 1                   1 1
Final Report                   34% 66% 100%            


V.  Project Budget


Moving the Bus Back Into Traffic Safely

Budget Categories


Center Director Salary


Faculty Salaries

$ 34,320

Admin. Staff Salaries

$     362

Other Staff Salaries


Student Salaries

$ 10,630

Staff Benefits

$ 17,610

Total Salaries and Benefits

$ 62,923



Permanent Equipment


Expendable Property/Supplies

$     507

Domestic Travel

$  8,000

Foreign Travel


Other Direct Costs


Total Direct Costs

$ 71,429

Indirect Costs

$   3,571

Total Costs

$ 75,000


Notes: This budget does not reflect any federal participation. The project team will include faculty, students, and secretarial and other support staff who will work directly on the project and whose costs are reflected in the direct costs of the project as listed above. Budget requests includes salaries for clerical and administrative staff, postage, telephone calls, office supplies, general purpose software, subscriptions, and/or memberships.


VI. Equipment

No equipment is envisioned to be purchased under this project.

VII. Travel

On-site visits and interviews will occur at transit agencies within Florida and the U.S. There will be likely one or two project management meetings in Tallahassee or Tampa. Out of state on-site visits will provide a perspective of leading national practices related to the design of signage and lighting configurations.



National Center for Transit Research · at the Center For Urban Transportation Research · University of South Florida · 4202 E. Fowler Ave., CUT100 · Tampa, FL 33620-5375 · (813) 974-3120 · (813) 974-5168 · · Comments: