Madison Bellah | Mustang News

San Luis Obispo’s public transportation system recently received the Innovation Award from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). 

SLO Transit was given this award because of recent work with Bishop Peak Technology that installed reactive smart lighting on city buses. The smart lighting works to better communicate with passengers who have visual, auditory, cognitive or selective-cognitive impairments. 

The system works by assigning colors to the buses’ smart lighting LED bulbs. The colors are correlated with specific transit routes, this helps passengers with impairments navigate the bus system. 

SLO Transit is the first public transportation system in the world to introduce reactive smart lighting to its vehicles. SLO Transit was also one of three transportation organizations residing in North America that earned an Innovation Award from the APTA. 

According to the APTA website, the Innovation Award is given to those who have “demonstrated innovative concepts or effective problem-solving techniques not previously applied in the public transportation industry.” 

The smart light technology is also used to signal other bus-related messages to passengers. Lights will alert riders when a stop is requested, bus doors are opening or closing and when wheelchair ramps are deploying. 

These additions are part of the city’s larger list of major city goals. 

The SLO City website lists its vision statement as “a dynamic community embracing its future while respecting its past with core values of civility, sustainability, diversity, inclusivity, regionalism, partnership, and resiliency.” 

The City also outlines their major city goals, which are part of the city’s 2021-23 financial plan. These goals are split into four categories: economic recovery, resiliency and fiscal sustainability, housing and homelessness, climate action and sustainable transportation, and diversity, equity and inclusion. 

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