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Suggested Citation:"CHAPTER TWO Literature Review." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Successful Practices and Training Initiatives to Reduce Accidents and Incidents at Transit Agencies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24686.
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Suggested Citation:"CHAPTER TWO Literature Review." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Successful Practices and Training Initiatives to Reduce Accidents and Incidents at Transit Agencies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24686.
×
Page 10
Page 11
Suggested Citation:"CHAPTER TWO Literature Review." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Successful Practices and Training Initiatives to Reduce Accidents and Incidents at Transit Agencies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24686.
×
Page 11
Page 12
Suggested Citation:"CHAPTER TWO Literature Review." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Successful Practices and Training Initiatives to Reduce Accidents and Incidents at Transit Agencies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24686.
×
Page 12
Page 13
Suggested Citation:"CHAPTER TWO Literature Review." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Successful Practices and Training Initiatives to Reduce Accidents and Incidents at Transit Agencies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24686.
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Page 13

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7 CHAPTER TWO LITERATURE REVIEW LITERATURE REVIEW Research sponsored by TRB (TCRP), FTA, and state departments of transportation highlights the complex incident scenarios reflected in transit operating environments across the country each and every day. Opportunities associated with transit agency safety-related training and other strategies to improve transit bus safety are often described in these reports and anec- dotally throughout the industry. This literature review was conducted to focus on the elements of safety culture, training, technology applications, infra- structure modifications, and other practices targeted to improve transit safety and specifically to reduce transit incidents. An online search of the Transportation Research Information Services (TRIS) and other sources suggested by TCRP SA-38 panel members was conducted. Public bus accidents and incidents are a major challenge faced by the public transit bus sector. They result in high costs associated with property damage or bodily harm and damage the perception or reputation of the entire industry. This synthe- sis examines three main strategies to reduce the number of accidents and incidents: training programs and initiatives, use of technology solutions to reduce transit incidents, and incentives and other safety rewards. The literature review covers stud- ies of how these strategies have been implemented in various public transit bus agencies, including the degree to which they were successful in decreasing accidents and incidents. Evidence exists showing a positive correlation between an increase in demands on the transit bus operator (such as pressure to stay on schedule) and accidents (Tse et al. 2006) and a negative cor- relation between transit bus operator training and accidents. TRAINING PROGRAMS AND INITIATIVES Training is a necessity in nearly every position in the workforce, and public transit bus operators are no exception. A study out of Sweden examined the long-term effects of training in economical driving, noting a direct correlation between fuel- efficient driving and bus accident reduction. Economical driving training targets the driving behavior of the bus operator and decreases fuel consumption and accidents. The results over time revealed that trained operators had fewer accidents per hours worked than nontrained operators (Wåhlberg 2006). A study from Denmark revealed the need for new bus operators to undergo training on hazard-recognition skills to mitigate the severity of bus accidents that do occur and to promote bus passenger safety (Prato and Kaplan 2013). New transit bus operators may also receive training on the prevention of assaults on operators. For instance, de-escalation training helps develop the knowledge and skills required to avoid conflicts that may otherwise turn into physical altercations (Transit Advisory Committee for Safety 2015). In addition to teaching appropriate de-escalation techniques, this training teaches employees how to report incidents effectively and without retaliation. The success of transit operator de-escalation training depends on ongoing, interactive training tailored to the employees’ specific risks (Transit Advisory Committee for Safety 2015). Other training techniques that new operators may receive to prevent operator assaults include self-defense training (specifically self-defense from a seated position), customer service training, and behavioral assessment training (Nakanishi and Fleming 2011). In TCRP Synthesis 93, Nakanishi and Fleming highlight the importance of bus operator training and state: “Operator training in customer relations, conflict management, diversity, stress management, and verbal techniques such as verbal judo is vital for new bus operators in facing the daily challenges of their job.” According to the report, bus operators who are trained in self-defense techniques have those skills available to them to effectively respond dur- ing an attack. Some transit systems may view self-defense training as an appropriate mitigation measure against bus operator assaults (Nakanishi and Fleming 2011).

8 Research indicated that, in addition to new bus operator training, annual/ongoing refresher safety training is offered by a significant majority of the transit agencies. The topics of the refresher training are most commonly safety policies and proce- dures, defensive driving, and distracted driving (Staes et al. 2014). Safety training programs for new transit bus operators are delivered in several ways, including computer-based/online training, video training, simulation training, and instructor-led training. Transit agencies offer training on multiple platforms because of the variability in learning styles among operators, allowing for increased retention of the training material (Staes et al. 2014). Some training is directed, supported, or provided by various state DOTs. As an example, the Florida Department of Trans- portation (FDOT) has developed a plethora of training products to increase transit safety in the state, including the Wireless Distractions Training Resource Program; the Threat and Vulnerability Assessment course, “Transit Emergencies: Validating Local Preparedness”; and the “Clean, Sober, and Safe” training video. A previous TCRP synthesis that focused on transit bus operator distraction policies identified some training programs developed specifically for transit systems, such as “Curbing Transit Operator Distracted Driving” and “Distracted Driving: At What Cost?” (Kozub 2013). “Curbing Transit Operator Distracted Driving” was developed by FDOT and the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) at the University of South Florida and is offered under FTA sponsorship as a 30-min- ute online course, with train-the-trainer material available for instructor-led training. “Distracted Driving: At What Cost?” was developed by Aurora Pictures in Minneapolis and is offered as a 14-minute video-based training program (Kozub 2013). Another important refresher training topic (for supervisors and dispatchers as well as bus operators) is how to recognize the signs and symptoms that could indicate an employee’s inability to meet fitness-for-duty requirements. Transit bus operators are subject to schedule-related fatigue, which can be compounded by personal responsibilities and distance to work. The “Toolbox for Transit Operator Fatigue” was developed in 2002 with techniques, strategies, and advice on the modification of behaviors to reduce or cope with fatigue; the toolbox can be used by managers, safety officials, human resource personnel, policymakers, and legal advisors (Gertler et al. 2002). It covers self-assessment of sleep debt, caffeine and over-the-counter drug consump- tion, and proper use of exercise and napping to decrease fatigue (Gertler et al. 2002). Fatigue can have much more dire effects on a transit bus operator than on an office worker. If office workers fall asleep at their computers, they likely will not endanger the lives of others around them. However, if a transit bus operator falls asleep behind the wheel, the result can be serious bodily harm not only to him- or herself but also to passengers on board, pedestrians, and occupants of other vehicles. The severity of the potential consequences of transit bus operator fatigue has prompted studies such as the Transit Advisory Committee for Safety 14-02 report Establishing a Fatigue Management Program for the Bus and Rail Transit Industry. Fatigue prevention and aware- ness training has been shown to improve safety by decreasing accidents while also potentially decreasing the cost of operations. For fatigue management training to be effective it must be scalable and adaptable to transit agencies of various sizes, and must adhere to the core traits of the four pillars of SMS (Transit Advisory Committee for Safety 2015). Complacency (often a result of repetitive actions that lead to reduced focus) is a hazard, especially for transit bus operators with several years of experience; it can be combated through refresher training. The Business and Legal Resources website recommends training and meetings to address complacency, with an emphasis on the dangers associated with lack of hazard identification and active accident prevention (Avoiding Complacency on the Job 2005). The research suggests that annual (at minimum) refresher training be required of all operators to reduce complacency (Westfield Insurance Agency 2016). The training should specifically address hazard identification to reduce incidents and collisions. Safety awareness programs have been shown to modify employee behavior by reducing complacency (Operation Lifesaver 2016). The use of simulators in bus operator training programs is becoming more prevalent. Simulators are unique in their ability to assess, evaluate, and address operator performance in a realistic computer-generated environment in which the consequences of errors are not harmful. Simulators offer challenges to the operators, with opportunities for learning through performance and through performance-and-resolution-based discussions with trainers and safety staff. From an operator’s perspective, simulators provide practice to allow for the mastery of driving skills, which increases confidence and competency by improving decision-making skills (Reep et al. 2013). Simulator training rather than behind-the-wheel training was found to reduce the cost of training by $37 per hour and to reduce training program length by 5 full days (Brock et al. 2001). In terms of performance, simulator training decreased the reaction time of one operator by 23% (Brock et al. 2001). Operators who were trained on simulators were involved in 36% fewer incidents than their counterparts who were not trained using simula- tors (Brock et al. 2001). Unfortunately, very few agencies use simulators in their annual training programs (Staes et al. 2014). The minimal use of simulators for bus transit operator training leads to a lack of quantitative data available for an analysis of its effectiveness in improving transit safety. Future research on the effectiveness of simulator training over time will likely produce statistically significant results, as it will include more data points for analysis (Reep et al. 2013).

9 Lessons learned regarding the various types of training a transit bus operator receives to improve safety and reduce inci- dents include multiple options. The literature suggests that the training curriculum be prescriptive but not source-specific and that—to increase retention among operators—agencies provide training through multiple platforms that accommodate different learning styles (Staes et al. 2014). Brock et al. (2001) suggest that simulator training replace some of the behind-the- wheel training time rather than replacing classroom training time. TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS Technology is changing at an incredible rate, with profound implications for safety. Vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle- to-infrastructure (V2I) technologies are garnering significant attention in the transportation sector. One application of V2V technology is forward collision warning (FCW), which is intended to help operators avoid rear-end vehicle collisions. FCW technology was installed in buses for a U.S.DOT-connected vehicle safety pilot model deployment (Pessaro 2015). One chal- lenge with this technology is the reliance on market penetration, because the vehicle directly in front of the bus must also be equipped with V2V technology for the technology to serve its intended purpose. Another technological advance that is helping to reduce incidents for transit buses is the use of V2I technology in the form of pedestrian warning devices. A transit crash analysis revealed that 14% of transit bus collisions involve pedestrians or cyclists; these are the costliest types of collisions (Schneeberger et al. 2014). The Transit Bus Stop Pedestrian Safety appli- cation uses infrastructure technology built into bus stops that audibly warns pedestrians that a bus is in the vicinity of the stop while simultaneously warning the bus operator of pedestrians in the vicinity. The goal of this application is to promote pedestrian safety through improved situational awareness by leveraging available connected technologies (Schneeberger et al. 2014). Another pedestrian-safety-focused application is an intelligent pedestrian warning system that uses parametric speaker technology to warn pedestrians who are in the path of a turning bus. This application detects the location and linear and angular velocity of the bus in conjunction with a scanning rangefinder that detects obstacles such as pedestrians (Burka et al. 2014). The data collected from these devices are sent to a processor, and an audible warning is activated in the direction of the pedestrian if an anticipated collision is processed (Burka et al. 2014). Camera-based systems are another technology used to improve transit bus safety. Camera systems placed on the side of the bus and connected to monitor displays provide real-time image displays of the operators’ blind zones, which are not visible using mirrors alone. Operators who have used the camera-based systems report eliminated blind zones, reduced risk for side- impact collisions, and improved bus safety (Lin et al. 2012). Onboard cameras are also being used as surveillance technology to improve the safety and security of bus operators and passengers, to reduce legal costs, and to improve training (Thomson et al. 2016). TCRP Synthesis 123 found that whereas some agencies have real-time video available, it is more common for agen- cies to review the video only if a trigger, such as an operator report or customer report, occurs. Of the interviewed agencies that have installed camera surveillance systems on their bus fleets, the top three benefits were reduced accident and incident claims, operator safety, and customer safety (Thomson et al. 2016). Technology solutions to improve transit bus safety have consistently adapted and progressed over time. In 2006, four Florida rural transit agencies were selected to beta test the Bus Incident Reporting, Tracking and Analysis System, which was designed to track and analyze incidents. The system provided the individual agencies with a better understanding of the trends of incidents, allowing them to target their safety training (Sapper and Reep 2006). This particular reporting system relied on manual input of the data, but as markets and technology have continued to advance, telemetry-based driver monitoring systems (DMSs) have emerged that automatically collect data for analysis of many safety measures, such as incidents, near misses, speeding, and distracted driving. The DMS captures, identifies, prioritizes, and analyzes the causes of poor or risky driving before an incident occurs, which enables the transit agency to take corrective action (Lytx 2016). San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Agency reported a 50% decline in bus accidents in one year, attributed to a DMS, with the greatest improvements among the bus operators with the worst driving records (Lytx 2016). The Jacksonville Transit Authority (JTA) in Florida reported similar astonishing results from the program, citing a 50% reduction in unsafe decision making and a 40% reduction in judgment errors and traffic violations over the course of the first year following implementation. At the Florida Transit Safety Network (FTSN) quarterly meeting in December 2015, JTA specifically mentioned the thoroughness of the data collected, especially in no-damage risk incidents such as a bus operator following too closely, which would likely not be reported otherwise (FTSN 2015). Most notably, JTA reported a 90% improvement among its riskiest operators in just 9 months of using a DMS, owing to the ability to inter- vene with remedial training before an incident occurred. JTA has made remarkable strides in increasing the safety of

10 its system, including other changes such as bus stop placement and improvement (FTSN 2015). The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) was awarded METRO Magazine’s 2015 Innovative Solutions Award in Safety for its partnership with a DMS provider (Roman 2015). RTA installed DMSs on its entire fleet in 2014; within a year it experi- enced a 60% reduction in speed violations, a 55% reduction in red light violations, and a 53% improvement in seatbelt compliance (Lytx 2015). Technology applications used in conjunction with infrastructure modifications have also been cited as effective in improv- ing transit safety, specifically in reducing the risk of buses hitting pedestrians. Intersection and bus stop or pull-out bay improvements can have a significant impact on decreasing the number of nonpreventable rear-end collisions and can improve the safety of pedestrians and other vulnerable road users. In-vehicle technology coupled with pedestrian crossing signals was found to work most effectively to reduce operator velocity in high-volume pedestrian areas (Carruth and Strawderman 2014). Value engineering using context-sensitive designs focuses on optimization of performance, quality, and safety, while minimizing costs and necessary infrastructure. In transit, value engineering could decrease the transit-traffic interference to reduce the collision rate and improve safety (Osman et al. 2007). A study focused on improving the design of multimodal corridors in dense urban areas found that the installation of a pedestrian refuge and improved signal timing decreased both total crashes and injury crashes at an intersection in New York City (Beaton et al. 2014). A transit safety retrofit package is part of a safety pilot model deployment of the U.S.DOT; the package uses dedicated short-range wireless technology to warn transit bus operators of potential hazards (Valentine et al. 2014). It includes a forward collision warning, emergency electronic brake lights, a curve speed warning, a pedestrian signalized crosswalk warning, and a vehicle turning right in front of bus warning, each of which improved the safety of transit operators and users, pedestrians, and automobile occupants (Valentine et al. 2014). The last type of technological solution to improve transit bus safety covered in this literature review is rear lighting con- figurations on buses. The way the rear lighting is configured on transit buses may reduce the likelihood of rear-end collisions by alerting the automobile operator that the bus intends to stop. However, the authors noted limits to the effectiveness of this solution, specifically referencing the difficulty in overcoming the inattentiveness of automobile operators (Morris and DeAnnuntis 2014). Decreases in rear-end collisions have been reported following initial installations of rear-end lighting and marking configurations, although no research yet shows a permanent reduction. Consensus does not yet exist on which light- ing configurations are most effective in reducing rear-end collisions. Those that have been employed include larger LED rear lights, strobing amber lights, a flashing red “STOP” light, and retroreflective strips. Agencies have also tried removing rear- end visual distractions such as paint schemes and graphics (Morris and DeAnnuntis 2014). At the December 2015 quarterly meeting of the Florida Transit Safety Network, Lee Tran reported a reduction in rear-end collisions since 2014 that the agency attributes to the addition of retroreflective caution tape, the reconfiguration of rear-end lighting, and the addition of pull-out bays on some facilities with speeds of 45 mph or more (FTSN 2015). Lessons learned regarding technology solutions to improve bus transit safety cover a broad spectrum of best practices, but one commonality is a holistic approach to the review of incidents that have occurred. Consensus exists that incidents are not typically the result of one action or one design but rather a combination of possible causal or contributing factors. Challenges associated with the pedestrian detection systems included balancing the cost and accuracy of different types of pedestrian scanners, and public resistance to the additional cameras stationed in these areas, which raise privacy-related concerns. For camera-based systems used to decrease the blind zones of transit bus operators, operators preferred that the monitor displaying the left side blind zone be smaller and have the ability to dim in the evening to avoid headlight distrac- tions from traffic (Lin et al. 2012). Regarding the DMS, RTA attributes much of its success to operator acceptance and constant communication with the local Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) before, during, and after the implementation of the program (Lytx 2015). In the area of the design of pedestrian accessibility to bus stops, researchers determined that the presence of sidewalks without crosswalks leading to the bus stops decreased the safety of pedestrians, because vehicles, including buses, were less likely to reduce their speed in response to a pedestrian on the sidewalk versus a pedestrian on the shoulder of the road (Car- ruth and Strawderman 2014). To address this design dilemma, it was suggested that an offset be designed into the sidewalk to increase the lateral distance between moving vehicles and pedestrians. In terms of the audible retrofit safety package, some challenges included a high rate of false warnings because of GPS and detector limitations. In addition, high-speed imaging was found to be more accurate than Doppler microwave-based crosswalk detectors in spotting pedestrians in the crosswalk (Valentine et al. 2014).

11 INCENTIVES AND OTHER SAFETY REWARDS The success of incentive programs may include goal setting, competition, public display of performance, and recognition at special events. The programs typically include not only incentives but also training, feedback, positive reinforcement, behav- ioral intervention, management support, and accountability. Incentive programs have been found to have the potential to reduce absenteeism, tardiness, and operator turnover. It is notable that the incentive programs were all “recent” interventions, which could be an indication of understanding agency goals rather than of motivation for improvement (Goodwill et al. 2012). One challenge associated with incentive implementation in the transit industry is the lack of available funding or shortage of profits (Goodwill et al. 2012). Public transit agencies are accountable to the taxpayers and may find it difficult to justify monetary incentives, especially when the difficulty of collecting data adds to the challenges of justification (Goodwill et al. 2012). Non- monetary rewards—such as certificates, pins, patches, and safety banquets—are used to improve transit bus safety; however, the effectiveness of these rewards depends on operators desiring the reward and feeling proud of their accomplishments. Lessons learned regarding incentive programs and rewards have revealed that success depends on their use in conjunction with an existing safety program. As tools to improve transit bus safety, incentives raise awareness of the agency’s commit- ment to safety, but this commitment must be established in a safety management plan before any kind of incentive program is established. When used in conjunction with a safety management plan, agencies find incentive programs to be successful in improving not only the safety of the system but also morale and employee-employer relationships by increasing focus on positive behavior. Management support of the incentive program is crucial (Goodwill et al. 2012). Although there have been documented successes with the use of rewards and incentives, the research cautioned that some of these programs have proven to be detrimental to safety when the incentives are not placed on the proper metric. For example, when operators were paid incentives based on the number of passengers served, they began to race to busy stops, which led to “bus bunching” and decreased safety (Tiznado et al. 2014). Training, technology, and incentives have all succeeded in improving transit bus safety when used in conjunction with an agency’s established safety management program. The significant impacts can affect more than safety by reducing absen- teeism, tardiness, and employee turnover. These improvements, especially when paired, have the potential to significantly increase the overall safety of the organization by reducing transit incidents and collisions, improving morale, and increasing the confidence of the operators.

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TRB's Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Synthesis 126: Successful Practices and Training Initiatives to Reduce Accidents and Incidents at Transit Agencies documents current practices and training initiatives, including bus operator training and retraining programs that have been effective in reducing accidents and incidents at transit agencies. The study also focuses on other system approaches that have been implemented to address safety hazards. These approaches include various technology applications, infrastructure modifications, and programs and initiatives such as driver incentive programs and close call/near miss reporting.

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