Saturday, July 18, 2009

Holding the Green Light in St Cloud

System Helps St. Cloud Buses Stay In The Green
(Go To Link Above to watch News Story)
Last week WCCO-TV reported how some Metro Transit buses were running red lights in downtown Minneapolis. That resulted in increased training and supervision of drivers after 'CCO video captured bus after bus on tape driving through traffic lights. Since then 'CCO learned about a system used in St. Cloud which helps keep bus drivers from running reds and keeps them on schedule. "They're usually really good and they're dependable and they go where they say they are," said Metro Bus Rider Edith Coyle.To get where they're going safely and on time they rely on technology to give them an advantage at the traffic lights. "What we are asking the signal to do is to get a green light for us," said Metro Bus Director of Planning and Marketing Thomas Cruikshank. A detector mounted on most St. Cloud stop lights senses a signal from a device attached to the bus. It then holds the green light just a few seconds longer than usual. "If they can get a couple seconds here, a couple seconds there it sure helps a lot keeping the bus on time," said Metro Bus Transportation Supervisor Shawn Pierce. "So in an hour-long route, you might gain a minute or two of time," said Cruikshank. The transit signal priority system also triggers red lights to make them turn green little quicker. "We are running more on time than we were in the past, so it has helped immensely," said Pierce. So as not to distract or confuse other drivers, the system doesn't flash or beep. It improves safety as well. "It is actually a lot easier to not run a red or yellow light," said Pierce. Metro Bus managers have talked to Metro Transit about the system. They say the Twin Cites company is considering similar, more updated technology but there are concerns about how it would affect traffic flow in a large metro area.

No comments: