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Center Identification Number:  77905   

Project Title:  Evaluation of Camera Based Systems to Reduce Transit Bus Side Collisions

Principal Investigators:

Pei-Sung Lin, Ph.D., Director of ITS, Traffic Operations and Safety
Phone: 813-974-4910

Chanyoung Lee, Ph.D., Senior Research Associate
Phone: 813-974-5307


Center for Urban Transportation Research
University of South Florida
Fax: 813-974-5168

External Project Contact:     

Erin K. Schepers
Florida Vehicle Procurement Manager
(850) 414-4526

I.  Start and End Dates

Start Date:  January 2009               Expected End Date: March 2010

I.  Project Objective/Problem Statement

Side collisions including sideswipe and angle crashes make up the highest percentage of transit collisions, accounting for more than 40 percent of all crashes (Wang et al. 2003). Lane-change maneuvers are very common in daily transit bus operations. Frontal and side right-angle warning systems have been developed for transit buses in an ongoing effort to make them safer.  Currently, side-view mirrors are the only device helping bus drivers operate their vehicles during lane changes. However, mirrors are not ideal because they lack full coverage of the intended area due to the size of buses, mounting location, and physical stature of the individual driver. In the case of smaller buses, these mirrors have been reported to be a hazard to pedestrians because they extend too far out of the main body of the bus and are attached at a lower height than the prescribed safety standards due to the design of the vehicle utilizing a truck chassis. Florida Statutes Chapter 14-90 requires the bottom of the curb-side mirror on a bus used in fixed-route operations to be no lower than 80 inches from the ground.

 A camera-based system has great potential to aid or even replace these mirrors and provide drivers with a clear view of the sides of the bus as well as eliminate the need for adjustments, especially in the case of changing drivers of an in-service bus. These camera-based systems seem much more reliable during lane changes and are easier to install than the sensor-based warning systems. 

II.  Objectives/Tasks

This project has five primary objectives:

1)      Compare available systems, including mirror, sensor, and camera-based technologies, to reduce transit bus side and other collisions

2)      Measure blind zone reductions on the side, rear, and front of common types of transit buses using camera-based systems

3)      Conduct and analyze transit bus driving tests with and without camera-based systems in a controlled environment

4)      Conduct and analyze transit bus driver surveys on driver satisfaction for using camera-based systems on lane changes

5)      Provide major findings and recommendations

If the major objectives of testing are met, including the effectiveness of camera-based systems and satisfaction of transit drivers of using a camera-based system in a controlled environment, a second phase (Phase II) of testing will be recommended to utilize this system in actual public transit service to perform a cross section of operations.  The project team will work with the FDOT project manager to closely monitor the testing under the controlled environment in this project and identify an agency to test a bus in an actual service environment for a potential Phase II.  A positive outcome of this project will have national implications for both the public transit and trucking industry and reflect positively on FDOT and CUTR.

Task 1:  Literature Review on Mirrors, Sensor, and Camera-Based Technologies to Reduce Side and Other Collisions

This task will focus on a literature review on (1) commonly-used mirror-based systems, (2) sensor-based warning systems, and (3) camera-based video systems.  The intent of conducting the task is to provide a thorough understanding of each system and compare the pros and cons among these three systems for assisting drivers to reduce side and other collisions.  Specific subtasks include:    

Provide an overview of common transit bus side and other collision causes and remedies

Review existing mirror-based systems

Review sensor-based systems

Review camera-based systems

Compare the pros and cons among mirror, sensor, and camera-based systems         

Task 2:  Measurement of Blind Zone Reductions for Transit Buses using Camera-Based Systems

Crashes of transit buses, commercial trucks, and motor carriers are often caused by the presence of large blind spots, commonly known as the “Blind Zone” or “No Zone,” where the driver has virtually no visibility.   The major objective of this task is to measure the blind zone reductions for transit buses using camera-based systems.  The researchers will physically measure the areas of blind zones on the side, rear, and front of each common type of transit bus, based on the uses of mirror and camera-based systems.  The percentage of reduction on blind zones on the side, rear, and front of each common type of transit bus via the use of the camera-based system will be computed and documented.  The result of this task can provide clear insight into the effectiveness of using camera-based systems to reduce blind zones of transit buses.  Specific subtasks include:       

·         Describe blind zones for transit buses

·         Measure blind zone reduction on the side of transit buses using camera-based systems

·         Measure blind zone reduction on the rear of transit buses using camera-based systems

·         Measure blind zone reduction on the front of transit buses using camera-based systems

Task 3: Design and Conduct Controlled Transit Bus Driving Tests and Surveys

For this task, the project team will design and conduct controlled driver tests and surveys to evaluate the effectiveness of side-vision cameras for transit buses. The Transit Research Inspection Procurement Services (TRIPS), a FDOT-funded project administered by CUTR, has a controlled environment facility for research and testing buses and their components in Tallahassee.  A comprehensive controlled transit bus driving test will first be designed. Through TRIPS, the project team will conduct the controlled driving tests on lane change maneuvers with and without side-vision camera systems.  An appropriate sample size of drivers will be evaluated on lane change maneuvers.  Common scenarios for transit bus operations along a transit route will be designed and included to determine if the side-vision systems can identify various potential hazards.  Field observations will then be documented.  Driver surveys will be conducted before and after the controlled driving test to collect driver general feedback on their driving experience with and without a side-vision system, including the reliability, accuracy, ease of use, and overall satisfaction of the camera-based system on transit buses. It is also very important to get the drivers’ feedback through the survey on the placement of side vision cameras.  The survey will be distributed to drivers participating in the controlled driver tests.  Specific subtasks include: 

·         Design for controlled transit bus driving tests and surveys

·         Arrange controlled transit bus driving tests

·         Purchase side-vision systems for controlled transit bus driving tests

·         Conduct controlled transit bus driving tests without a camera-based system

·         Conduct controlled transit bus driving tests with a camera-based system

·         Administer transit bus driver surveys before and after the controlled transit bus driving tests

Task 4: Analysis of Transit Bus Controlled Driving Tests and Survey Data

In this task, the project team will perform analysis with data collected from the transit bus controlled driving tests and driver surveys. The qualitative analysis may include the analysis based on field observations of tests, transit driver experience, and feedback on using camera-based systems.  The quantitative analysis may include the analysis of numerical data obtained from the controlled driving tests and driver survey data.  A statistical analysis will be performed to evaluate whether camera-based systems can improve the safety of transit buses during lane change maneuvers and whether transit drivers are satisfied with camera-based systems.  Specific subtasks include:

·         Qualitative analysis based on field observations during controlled driving tests

·         Quantitative analysis based on collected field data during controlled driving tests

·         Statistical analysis to evaluate the effectiveness of camera-based systems to reduce side collisions

·         Summary of  transit bus controlled driving tests

·         Quantitative analysis of driver survey data

·         Statistical analysis to evaluate transit driver satisfaction of using side camera systems

·         Summary of transit bus driver surveys

Task 5:  Development of Recommendations

This task will utilize the findings of the previous tasks to develop recommendations for the use of camera-based systems for transit buses.  The recommendation may include but are not limited to the following:

·         Use of camera-based systems for transit buses to reduce blind zones

·         Use of side camera-based systems for transit buses to improve safety in lane changes

·         Use of camera-based systems to compensate or replace mirrors in order to comply with Florida Statutes Chapter 14-90, which requires the bottom of the curb-side mirror on a bus used in fixed-route operations to be no lower than 80 inches from the ground

·         Use of camera-based systems in actual public transit service pilot study in Phase II

In this task, the research team will provide detailed information and supporting materials for recommendations on the use of side camera-based systems and/or camera-based systems in general for transit buses, as well as potential further tests and future implementation.

Task 6: Final Report

The final task of the research will summarize the results of the previous tasks in a final report. The report will be designed in a clear and concise summary format that will facilitate easy reading and application by FDOT project managers and public transit professionals. 

The draft final report will be edited for grammar, clarity, organization, and readability by the director of the National Center for Transit Research 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). A well-written, high-quality report will be submitted. 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 project manager to ensure that the scope and activities are consistent with Florida DOT’s Public Transit Office’s goals and objectives.  Work not included in this Scope of Service is not to be performed and will not be subject to compensation by the Department.

III. Deliverables

Deliverables for this project will include the following:

Project Kickoff Meeting

A kickoff meeting shall be scheduled to occur before any work begins. As a minimum, the project manager and the principal investigator will attend. The Research Center staff must be advised of the meeting and given the option to attend. Other parties may be invited, as appropriate. The subject of the meeting will be to review and discuss the project’s tasks, schedule, milestones, deliverables, reporting requirements, and deployment plan.

Progress Reports

The Contractor shall submit quarterly progress reports to the Research Center according to calendar quarters (Jan-Mar; Apr-Jun; Jul-Sep; Oct-Dec). The first report is due 30 days following execution of the task work order. Reports should be submitted within 30 days of the end of the reporting period. Reports are due even if little or no progress has occurred (in which case, the report should explain delays and/or lack of progress). Progress reports should be sent in MS Word to Sandra Bell, .

Progress reports must include the following information:

1.      Contract Number, Work Order Number and Title,

2.      Work performed during the period being reported,

3.      Work to be performed in the following period,

4.      Anticipated modifications (i.e., to funding, schedule, or scope), and

5.      A Progress Schedule (Figures A, B, and C) updated to reflect activities for the period being reported.

To effectively track the project-related emails, the project contract number and title are required in the subject of the email to FDOT Project Managers.

Failure to submit progress reports in a timely manner may result in termination of the work order.

Technical Memorandum 1 – Technical Memorandum 1 will be submitted at the end of Task 2 to summarize the findings of the first two tasks on literature review and evaluation of blind zone reduction through camera-based systems for transit buses.

Technical Memorandum 2 – Technical Memorandum 2 will be submitted at the end of Task 4 to document the transit bus controlled driving tests and associated transit bus driver surveys in Task 3, and detailed analysis performed in Task 4.

Draft Final Reports

The draft final report will be submitted to Sandra Bell, It should be edited for technical accuracy, grammar, clarity, organization, and format prior to submission to the Department for technical approval. The Research Center expects the Contractor to be able to provide well-written, high-quality reports that address the objectives defined by the scope of service. Draft final reports must be prepared in accordance with the Guidelines for Preparing Draft Final and Final Reports ( This document provides information on all report requirements, including format requirements, the technical report documentation form, disclaimer language, and so forth. The Contactor is required to send an electronic version and printed version of the draft final report to the Project Managers, is due 90 days prior to the end of task work order to allow the Project Manager sufficient time for review and distribution.

Final Reports

Once the draft final report has been approved, the university shall prepare the final report. The university will deliver a minimum eight (8) copies of the final report in MS Word on CD and one (1) unbound original, no later than the end date of the task work order to:

The Florida Department of Transportation

Research Center, MS 30

605 Suwannee Street

Tallahassee, FL 32399-0450

Each copy will be provided on a CD or DVD (i.e., for a total of eight disks). If the project manager requires additional copies, such provision must be indicated in the scope.  The project manager will review the final report to ensure that all issues identified for correction in the draft final report have been addressed.

 Project Certification

The Sponsored Research office or appropriate authority will submit as a final deliverable a project certification prepared according to university compliance standards.

Sign and Seal of Final Research Report

Principal Investigators licensed to perform engineering in the State of Florida and performing research that requires engineering education, training, and experience in the application of special knowledge of the mathematical, physical, and engineering sciences to such services or creative work as consultation, investigation, evaluation, planning, and design of engineering works and systems, planning the use of land and water, teaching of the principles and methods of engineering design, engineering surveys, and the inspection of construction in connection with any utilities, structures, buildings, machines, equipment, processes, work systems, projects, and industrial or consumer products or equipment of a mechanical, electrical, hydraulic, pneumatic, or thermal nature, insofar as they involve safeguarding life, health, or property may be required to sign, date and seal the Final Report. This requirement will be known prior to the development of a Scope of Service, and this section of the Scope will be an acknowledgement of that requirement.

For the purpose of this section, one copy of the final report may be electronically transmitted to the Research Center:  signed, dated, and sealed by the licensee electronically in accordance with ss. 668.001 – 668.006 F.S.

IV.  Project Schedule

V.  Project Budget

Salaries and Fringe                                      82,571.30

Equipment                                                        4,800.00

Expenses                                                          1,900.00

Travel                                                                  1,600.00

Sub Total                                                           90,871.31

Indirect Cost (fixed price subtotal x 10%)   9,087.13

Total Project Cost                                          99,958.44

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: