MTS Bus Operations Wins National Award for Pedestrian Safety

Pedestrian-related accidents reduced to zero after awareness program implemented 

 **Watch the MTS Bus Safety Award video here  

San Diego, Calif. – The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) earned the top safety award from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) for its successful Pause, Focus, Look campaign that reduced pedestrian-related preventable bus accidents to zero. The award was announced today at APTA’s annual bus conference in Reno, Nevada. This is the second bus safety award MTS has won in the last three years.

“Being recognized with awards is nice. But results are even better,” said Paul Jablonski, MTS chief executive officer. “Eliminating pedestrian-related accidents is an exceptional success. MTS bus operators should be proud of this accomplishment, as should our training department. They identified the challenges, developed a thorough training program, worked with union leadership and educated all 544 of our drivers. It’s this type of effort that led to this outstanding result.”

The Pause, Focus, Look campaign involved MTS’ in-house bus operations team comprised of 285 buses, and more than 750 employees that provide service for 28.5 million annual passenger trips. From 2013 through March 2016, MTS Bus had experienced 10 preventable accidents involving pedestrians. While not alarming by industry standards, it was not an acceptable number by MTS safety standards.

The campaign strategically linked driver behavior, vehicle equipment, and an integration of available technology to eliminate pedestrian accidents. The effectiveness of Pause, Focus, Look was clear: with its full implementation, there were zero additional pedestrian accidents in the final nine months of 2016. Key elements to the campaign included:

Supervisors and managers, and signage placed in high pedestrian activity locations throughout the system to keep pedestrians top-of-mind for bus operators

  • A ‘no left turn on red’ policy was instituted for one-way streets
  • Replaced elongated side-view mirrors on buses to reduce the previously compromised view of pedestrians
  • Modified monthly and annual trainings to focused on pedestrian awareness and accident prevention
  • Targeted campaign branding for bus operators to be consistently reminded of pedestrian safety
  • Conducted a comprehensive assessment of internal lighting for all buses and adjusted settings to reduce windshield glare and improve visibility of pedestrians 
  • Identified high priority intersections from previous pedestrian accidents and used bus camera systems to randomly audit turns, enabling potentially unsafe actions to be proactively addressed
  • Showed video clip loops from actual pedestrian accidents on break room monitors to provide real-life context for bus operators
  • Voice and text messages were routinely sent to bus operators throughout the day using the onboard communications system

MTS operates 95 bus routes and three Trolley lines on 53 miles of double-tracked railway. Every weekday more than 300,000 passenger trips are taken on MTS bus and Trolley services in 10 cities and in unincorporated areas of the county. In FY 2016, MTS served 92.6 million riders. For more information on how you can use public transportation and save money, go to

Photo (from left to right): Paul Jablonski, MTS chief executive officer; Bill Spraul, MTS Bus chief operating officer; Jared Garcia, MTS Bus manager of safety; Tony Beaver, MTS Bus manager of service operations; Amanda Denham, manager of support services


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