New system to alert road users to ‘quiet’ slow moving buses

TfL bus standard

TfL is to trial an ‘innovative’ new bus sound to ensure all road users are aware of electric and hybrid buses when they are moving at slow speeds.

The sound will be played while a bus is travelling slower than 12mph, or when it is reversing or stationary at bus stops. 

The pitch of the sound, which has been developed with input from Guide Dogs for the Blind, London Travelwatch and other key accessibility, walking and cycling groups, will vary with the speed of the vehicle.

When travelling above 12mph, TfL says the bus will make enough noise that an alert is unnecessary.

Claire Mann, director of bus operations at TfL, said: “We are committed to ensuring the safest buses are driven on London’s roads.

“Working with a broad range of stakeholders will ensure the system is best equipped to alert all road users to the presence of quiet running buses, preventing collisions and making deaths and serious injuries on our roads a thing of the past.”

Trials to begin in January
The sound will first be trialled at varying volumes on the 100 bus route – which runs between St Paul’s Cathedral and Shadwell – over a six-month period from January.

Feedback from road users, residents, passengers and drivers will be collected to help develop ‘the most effective system for all road users’.

Kirsty Hoyle, CEO at Transport for All, said: “Understanding the lived-experience of navigating London’s streets with a visual or sensory impairment, and designing services with this in mind, is a fundamental part of inclusive design.

“Our disabled members have been delighted to work with TfL to find a solution that can now be live tested.”

The trial comes ahead of an artificial sound becoming a regulatory requirement for all new ‘quiet’ running vehicles in 2021.

19 December 2019