Houston METRO unveils new safety fix

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Six-months ago, ABC13 Investigates wanted answers after two pedestrians died walking in front of a METRO train. Years of Metro's own reports showed victims didn't always hear or see the train. Since our report, METRO has been developing new technology to warn people when a train is coming. This afternoon, the agency showed it off.

The system is basically a blue tooth transmitter and speaker. METRO's COO Andy Skabowski explained that every METRO train now has a Bluetooth beacon. When it gets in range of a Bluetooth enabled speaker, warnings sound for pedestrians. METRO is testing the system starting today.

METRO's admits the new solution is a first step. METRO CEO Tom Lambert told us it may not be enough to get people's attention if they are on the phone - but the agency is trying hard to cut down on accidents. In fact there has been just one pedestrian-train fatality since February.

In addition to the new speakers, METRO says it wrapped its trains in bright colors, painted crossings, and added fencing.

The speaker system, which alerts pedestrians in English and Spanish, may still need some tweaking. Pedestrians told us while they think it may work, they had a tough time hearing it initially.

METRO has the system at 4 intersections for a pilot program. They are working with researchers hoping to one day roll out an app that might be able to alert you even if you're paying more attention to music or a phone call than an approaching train.

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