New safety tech to be trialled by TfL

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Transport for London (TfL) has announced plans to test new safety technology on London buses.

Automatic braking and audible warning systems will be trialled alongside measures including new mirrors to improve the driver’s vision.

Earlier this year, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, set out a ‘Vision Zero’ approach to road danger in his draft transport strategy, which 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.

All of the new technology will receive an independent trial at the Transport Research Laboratory. The range of safety measures to be tested include:

  •  Autonomous emergency braking systems, which allow the vehicle to detect its surroundings and automatically apply the brakes;
  • Features to alert pedestrians and other road users of the presence of buses, such as lights or audible warnings;
  • A re-design of the front of buses, which could reduce the impact of a collision;
  • Changes to bus interiors to improve passenger safety, such as higher-grip flooring and softening sharp corners; and
  • Improvements to vision for drivers, including improved mirror design.

The results of the trials will feed into a new bus safety standard, which will be incorporated into bus operator contracts from the end of 2018.

TfL has also published a report on Intelligent Speed Assistance, following a successful trial in 2016. Bus operators are required to fit the technology, which limits the speed at which buses are able to travel, from later this year.

TfL’s Managing Director of Surface Transport, Leon Daniels, 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.”

London’s Deputy Mayor for Transport, Val Shawcross, 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.”

Sarah Hope, victim of a collision in 2007 in which her mother died and she and her daughter were seriously injured, said: “I am delighted about the announcement from TfL regarding the new safety technology which is part of the Bus Safety Programme.

“It is vital that TfL remain committed to reducing the number of collisions and incidents caused by buses in London that result in serious injury and death. I hope the new safety technology will help TfL achieve this.”