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Hang Up And Walk, TriMet Announces Pedestrian Warning System

OPB | Nov. 10, 2013 4:23 p.m. | Portland

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TriMet will soon be rolling out a new pedestrian warning system in Portland.

If you’re walking down the street with your head down next month, don’t be surprised if you hear this.

“Pedestrians, bus is turning. Pedestrians, bus is turning.”

TriMet was awarded a $400,000 grant from the Federal Transit Administration to test several different devices that warn pedestrians of oncoming buses. They include audible warnings and LED strobe lights on both buses and street corners.

And why are they necessary?

“There are a number of pedestrians that seem to be focused on texting or looking at their smartphones,” explains TriMet’s Harry Saporta.

He says distracted walking is a growing national problem. Ohio State University researchers say emergency room visits related to using a cell phone while walking doubled from 2005 to 2010.

Saporta says TriMet’s test is the nation’s most comprehensive study yet of pedestrian warning devices.

He says findings of the study will be reported to the FTA and made available to the entire transit industry.

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