Caroline Cournoyer is GOVERNING's deputy web editor.E-mail: email@example.com
With the inventions of the iPod and the smartphone, walking and talking (and listening, and playing …) has become harder than ever before -- but several cities are trying to make pedestrian life safer. In Cleveland, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., talking buses en route warn pedestrians when a bus is turning. When drivers begin to turn the wheel, sensors detect the motion and prompt an authoritative female voice to call out onto the streets: "Pedestrians, bus is turning!" Last year, Cleveland installed the innovation in all 400 of its buses, resulting in the transit system's first year in history with no bus-pedestrian accidents, the agency's spokeswoman Mary McCahon told the Baltimore Sun. Just recently, the paper reported that the Maryland Transit Administration decided to test out the technology, which costs $1,500 - $2,500 per vehicle, on 10 Baltimore buses -- half of which say the warning in Spanish. Almost 400 pedestrians were killed by transit buses nationwide from 2000 to 2009, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.