Buses on two London routes are to be equipped with technology to limit their speed – more than ten years after the trialling of such technology was first suggested to former mayor Ken Livingstone.
Intelligent Speed Adaptation (ISA) technology, which ensures vehicles can’t exceed local speed limits, will be fitted to 47 buses serving routes 19 and 486 to allow transport bosses to assess its impact on road safety.
Depending on the outcome of the trials, ISA could be introduced across London’s 8,700 bus fleet as part of Transport for London’s efforts to reduce the numbers of people killed and seriously injured on the capital’s roads.
Isabel Dedring, deputy mayor for transport, said: “London’s buses are central to keeping the city moving and our fleet is one of the safest in the world. However, with nearly 9,000 buses on the Capital’s roads it’s clear they have a major role to play in continuing improvements in road safety.
“This trial is a great example of how we’re harnessing innovation and new technology that will aide bus drivers on the job and help to improve the safety of other road users.”
Leon Daniels, Managing Director of Surface Transport at TfL, said: “Intelligent Speed Adaptation improves road safety by reducing incidences of speeding for all road users, allowing drivers to focus on looking out for potential issues on the road rather than checking their speed limit.
“If this trial confirms that this technology could be beneficial to the safety of London’s roads, it could be introduced across our bus fleet.”
Fitting buses with such equipment was first suggested by Ken Livingstone’s road safety ambassador in 2005 and in 2009 current Mayor Boris Johnson confirmed TfL was considering “a proposal to trial intelligent speed adaptation (ISA) on a bus in London” ahead of a wider possible roll-out.
The delay in bringing the technology to London’s streets has been criticised by one London Assembly Member.
Darren Johnson AM said: “Making buses stick to the speed limit is a common sense measure which should have been brought in years ago.
“This Mayor has failed to make the safety of buses a priority despite official figures showing that one person a day is killed or has a significant injury involving a bus collision.”
Mr Johnson added: “We have had years of slow progress on safer roads and the enforcement of speed limits, I do hope that the next Mayor will just get on with this one.”
TfL says 180 were people were killed or seriously injured in London last year as a result of an incident involving a bus or coach and that the number of KSIs has fallen by 22 per cent in the last five years.
A spokesperson commented: “There is no room for complacency, and TfL continues to work with stakeholders to further bear down on such incidents.”