HOUSTON (FOX 26) - You've likely seen it happen before in Houston. A pedestrian or a bicyclist trying to beat the METRO as it approaches a stop. Some accidents resulting in serious injury, even death. Now, METRO officials are hoping to change that.
A new, loud and clear message will be heard as the METRO approaches.
Officials calling this new method innovative as all trains have been equipped with Bluetooth technology that will trigger a warning for pedestrians crossing the street.
"It's not safe to not pay attention when you're crossing major thoroughfares. Whether you're walking, cycling, or for that matter driving an automobile, says Tom Lambert, METRO Chief Executive Officer.
METRO says 69 accidents with their trains have happened so far in 2017. While that's 13 less than this time last year, 4 of those collisions have been fatal.
Leaders know this new alert system won't solve the problem of disobedient commuters, by wheel or by foot, but the hope is that this will bring attention to a problem METRO constantly sees.
"Different intersections and different areas of town might have a different resolution. This device works great because all I need is a pedestrian pole," says Andy Skabowski, METRO Chief Operating Officer.
Already 2 have been installed. One is located at Main & Lamar while the other is just north of the Hermann Park station.
"Of course if somebody is distracted, with earbuds or their mind is absorbed in their iPad or cell phone, they may not pay attention," says Jim Robinson, who sits at Chair on the METRO Board of Directors
METRO officals hope this technology, if proven effective, will expand to Bluetooth enabled smartphones or cars. Until then, two more alert boxes are in the works to be installed as this pilot program gets underway.