Munich Re, US, launches transit bus collision avoidance pilot
Munich Re, US, launches transit bus collision avoidance pilot as part of enhanced focus on developing innovative solutions for mobility risks.
Munich Re, in collaboration with the Washington State Transit Insurance Pool (WSTIP), has launched a pilot program equipping transit buses with an award-winning collision avoidance technology known as Mobileye Shield+TM. Rosco®Vision Systems is the official North American provider and driver-interface manufacturer of this system.
For the pilot, 38 WSTIP transit buses have been equipped with Mobileye’s Shield+™ technology. The advanced driver assistance technology empowers drivers to avoid and mitigate imminent collisions, protecting the most vulnerable and difficult to observe road users: cyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists.
“Munich Re is committed to saving lives, reducing injuries and minimizing losses in the public transportation sector,” said Brian Viscusi, Senior Vice President, Alternative Markets, Munich Reinsurance America, Inc. “This proactive approach to retrofitting current bus fleets will allow transit agencies to improve safety and reduce losses in the near term, rather than waiting for collision avoidance equipment to become standard on new buses which could take 12 - 18 years based on the minimum expected life of a transit bus.”
Why transit buses? According to the most recent data from the National Transit Database, bus transit agencies nationwide reported 3,260 collisions, almost 13,000 injuries and 92 fatalities annually, costing over US$ 438m in casualty and liability expenses. While the National Transit Database reports a decline in the number of injuries from 2002 - 2011, severity continues to be an issue as demonstrated by the average 2.8% increase in casualty and liability expenses each year.
Jerry Spears, Deputy Director of WSTIP, notes approximately 90% of their large collision-related transit losses (>$100,000) are forward motion collisions with pedestrians, bicyclists or motorcyclists. “The purpose of this safety pilot is to utilize innovative technology to prevent these collisions from occurring in the first place, thereby avoiding the devastating consequences these incidents can have on the injured parties and on the drivers,” Spears said.
Supported by an IDEA grant from the Transportation Research Board at the National Academies of Science, transportation experts at the University of Washington STAR Labs will analyze both quantitative and qualitative pilot data collected from multiple sources including video, telematics, and transit operator surveys.
“We anticipate the long-term benefits of projects such as these to be significant, with a primary goal of reducing the number of fatalities and injuries,” said Mike Scrudato, Senior Vice President, New Strategic Markets, and leader of the Mobility Domain at Munich Reinsurance America, Inc. “On an economic scale, an improved safety record for transit agencies would ultimately translate into reduced losses for the transit agency as well as their insurer.”