Friday, September 29, 2017

Houston Metro launches pilot program for pedestrian safety at rail crossings

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Houston Metro Board Chair Carrin Patman announcing the Metro Rail safety pilot program. Houston Metro Board Chair Carrin Patman announcing the Metro Rail safety pilot program. Houston Metro

Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (Houston Metro) is launching a pilot program to test a Bluetooth pedestrian alert system (BPAS) at four locations.

The BPAS test is part of a partnership with Texas A&M Transportation Institute and has been installed at two intersections with two more installs planned. The system plays a recording that warns pedestrians of an approaching train. The speakers work with the help of Bluetooth beacon technology that is installed on the trains.

"We are excited to see this innovation and look forward to evaluating it along our system. This board is committed to approving the funds to improve safety along our rail lines," said Houston Metro Chair Carrin Patman.

The pilot program announcement came as part of the first U.S. Rail Safety Week. Houston Metro says it will make additional improvements to enhance rail and bus safety. These include painting crosswalks red to increase visibility along rail lines, installing new fencing to create safety barriers and installing more warning signs on platforms, trains and at intersections remind pedestrians, cyclists and drivers to be alert.

"Safety is our top priority and this is an all hands on deck approach. Our staff is working closely with stakeholders on several dozen initiatives. So the public should expect to see a continued roll out of improvements," said Houston Metro President and CEO Tom Lambert.