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March 01, 2002  |   Comments (0)   |   Post a comment

‘Smart Buses’ Hit the Streets of L.A.


Motorola will be installing and managing Advanced Transportation Management Systems aboard Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority (LACMTA) buses over the next three years. Though a comparable $72 million project is not on the horizon for the school bus industry, some of the technology used in these Smart Buses may represent the wave of the future for transporters of all kinds. LACMTA’s new buses will sport the following: • Voice and data radio systems — Including a driver control module with numerical keys representing categories of emergencies. • Automatic vehicle locator — To guide dispatchers and law enforcement officials, via GPS technology, to the location of a bus in distress. • Automatic passenger counter — To record passenger loads and ridership patterns using onboard infrared beam sensors that relay information to a processor for downloading at day’s end. • Video surveillance system — Relays live images from cameras mounted outside the vehicle to a monitor in the driver’s compartment. A hard drive stores 72 hours of images. • Computer-aided dispatch — Streamlines data collection for immediate response to any type of emergency. Also under consideration: • Voice annunciation system — Triggered by GPS satellites, the system would activate bilingual, computerized voices that greet passengers, announce all stops and make safety messages.

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