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TriMet Launches Talking Buses

TriMet’s “talking buses” began running Monday. Five bus lines are equipped with devices meant to protect pedestrians.

The buses will alert pedestrians when the driver turns the steering wheel. TriMet and the Federal Transit Administration are testing three pedestrian warning systems.

The FTA awarded TriMet a $400,000 grant to analyze devices that alert people when a bus is turning.


Roberta Altstadt is with TriMet. She says 45 buses are in the pilot program.

“We do hope that it will prove effective in increasing awareness around buses,” Altstadt said. “So it will be interesting for us to do this assessment and see if people are really noticing the talking buses.”

The bus lines included in the pilot program were picked for several reasons, like their frequency of turns and high pedestrian traffic areas.

TriMet has tried out an audible pedestrian warning system before. In 2011, the agency tested the system on 10 buses, but the technology was lacking.

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