Bus Operator Perceptions of Safety Risks

This paper presents the results of a survey of TriMet bus operators addressing safety risks in their assigned work. Surveyed risk factors were organized into five categories: vehicle design and condition; route layout; operating conditions; fatigue; an d stress. Operators perceived fatigue and stress to be the greatest sources of safety risk, with split shifts, schedule pressures, passenger distractions, and negligence of other roadway users being the primary contributors to these conditions. Operators were also surveyed on the frequency and nature of “close calls,” with two-thirds of the operators indicating that such incidents occurred at least weekly and most often involved being cut off by other roadway users. Operators endorsed high visibility enforcement initiatives to improve safety, focusing primarily on negligent behavior. Other operator-recommended changes addressed scheduling practices and the need for more public information and out reach on safety risks. View Paper

Written by: James G. Strathman and Sung-Moon Kwon; Center for Urban Studies, Portland State University; and Steve Callas, TriMet


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