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Examining Bus Simulator Return-on-Investment: A Tool, Not a Toy

 

When communities consider investing in bus simulator training, they want to be sure they’ll see a return on that investment (ROI). Rob Raheb is a simulation training expert who’s worked closely with transit agencies for nearly a decade. According to Raheb, it’s natural for any organization to say, “We just spent three-quarters of a million dollars—we wanna know, ‘What’s the ROI on this? Do we just have a toy, or do we have a tool?'”

Independent studies have repeatedly found that driving and bus simulation training can be a tremendously powerful tool with a startlingly high ROI. Last year the National Association of Insurance Commissioners released a report (The Impact of Motor Vehicle Simulator Training on Law Enforcement Officer Driving Behavior: Empirical Evidence from Accident Frequency and Severity) that included a brief analysis of the effectiveness and ROI of simulation-based training programs. In one case, they found that law enforcement agencies in Georgia saw a 12 to 1 return on their simulation training investment over 15 years. In other words, for each dollar spent on simulation training, they saved $12. What’s more, that ROI was calculated based solely on savings in expenses associated with automobile liability and property damage losses. As they noted in the report, “motor vehicle accidents involving LEOs [law enforcement officers] also result in substantial workers’ compensation-related costs to counties and municipalities, and these are not captured in our analysis.”

Given that the simulation training program in question costs roughly $400,000 per year, this ROI translates to an annual savings of more than $4 million.

 

Bus Simulator ROI

While such an enormous ROI seems unbelievable, Rob Raheb isn’t surprised. During his time with NYC EMS, Raheb instituted a simulation training program to address intersection “t-bone” collisions: “An intersection collision, at minimum, costs a million dollars—the damage, the injuries, the fatalities.”

Raheb’s training program reduced such collisions by 50%—at an estimated savings of over $200 million annually in a single year.

“Even if you only ever prevented one of these accidents in all the years you used your sim; you’d still be saving money—not to mention saving lives.”

And such results aren’t limited to public safety. Using a FAAC bus simulator, the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District recorded a 70% decrease in new-hire accidents in their first year of simulation-based training. Similarly, the Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority (“LYNX“) enjoyed a 68% overall reduction of accidents after adopting a simulation-based training program.

ROI isn’t limited to savings from accidents averted. When Miami-Dade County (Florida) adopted a simulation-based public safety training program, they saw a dramatic drop in litigation. As a result, bonding agencies chose to raise the region’s bond rating, making it easier to borrow money for municipal projects and expand the regional economy.