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TriMet gives 'talking buses' another try

Hoping to wake up the growing number of pedestrians distracted by smartphones and other electronic devices on the street, TriMet will give “talking buses” another try on five bus lines starting Monday.

Audible pedestrian warning systems are used by a just a handful of U.S. transit agencies. TriMet officials say bus drivers across the country are increasingly complaining about near-misses with distracted walkers glued to their gadgets.

With the help of a $400,000 grant, the Federal Transit Administration has decided to use the Portland area as a test market for four emerging pedestrian-alert technologies.

TriMet spokeswoman Roberta Altstadt says the on-board systems are triggered when drivers turn their wheels.