New technology trials seek to ‘transform’ bus safety in London

TfL flickr bus

Image: TfL via Flickr

Transport for London (TfL) has announced that it is to trial new technologies, including autonomous emergency braking (AEB), on its buses.

The Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) will oversee the trials which also include features to alert pedestrians and other road users of the presence of buses, such as lights and audible warnings.

Other measures to be trialled include a redesign of the front of the buses to reduce the impact of a collision, changes to bus interiors – including higher-grip flooring – to improve passenger safety, and improvements to vision for drivers, including enhanced mirror design.

The results of the trials will feed into a new ‘Bus Safety Standard’ that will be incorporated into bus operator contracts from the end of 2018.

TfL has also published a report on the trial of the use of Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) in buses, which took place in 2016.

The report shows that all buses fitted with ISA remained within the speed limit 97-99% of the time, ‘proving its effectiveness’. TfL says the extremely rare incidents of excess speeds were seen on downhill sections of road.

Earlier this year the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, set out a ‘Vision Zero’ approach to road danger in his draft transport strategy. This approach aims for no one to be killed in or by a London bus by 2030, and for deaths and serious injuries from road collisions to be eliminated from London’s streets by 2041.

Val Shawcross, London’s deputy mayor for transport, said:

“Nothing is more important to the mayor than the safety of Londoners. We are doing our utmost to make the streets of the Capital safer and these measures can potentially make big improvements to bus safety.”

Leon Daniels, TfL’s managing director of surface transport, said:

“We are determined to drive down the unacceptable number of people injured or killed on London’s roads and make streets safe for pedestrians and cyclists.

“Not a day is being wasted in working towards Vision Zero, and this trial is part of our comprehensive programme to make road deaths caused by London buses a thing of the past.”

17 August 2017