For the second time in five years, Metro Transit has earned the Gold Award for Excellence in Bus Safety from the American Public Transportation Association.

Metro Transit beat out other transit agencies from across the United States to win the award, which was given out at APTA's 2013 Bus Safety and Security Awards held last week in conjunction with the organization's Bus and Paratransit Conference in Indianapolis.

Since 2009, Metro Transit has implemented outreach and safety programs that allowed the agency to reduct the annual number of major collisions by more than 6 percent, saving more than $419,000. The agency's annual crash rate is about one-third the rate of its peer bus systems, Metro Transit said.

Other steps Metro Transit has taken:

  • A "Look & See" campaign for drivers focused on safe operation around pedestrians, onboard "blind spot reminders" and videos about cyclists and traffic safety.
  • A winter driving video for drivers and the use of new tires to improve traction
  • A new mandatory course on distracted driving for bus drivers
  • Prohibiting bus drivers from using electronic devices while behind the wheel.

APTA's Bus Safety Committee appoints an independent awards subcommittee to choose the top agency for implementing programs and policies to improve safety.

Metro Transit, which last won the award in 2009, provided more than 81 million rides in 2012.