It’s taken a little longer than initially promised, but Transport for London has published a hefty spreadsheet containing details on collisions and other incidents involving buses.
The data was initially promised to be available from April but publication seemed to slip without public explanation, with the document only going live last week.
I’m told by road safety campaigner Tom Kearney – himself knocked down by a bus in Oxford Street – that particular credit for securing its release belongs to London Assembly Member Victoria Borwick.
While all four London Assembly parties have pushed transport bosses to increase transparency around road safety statistics, Tom says it was Victoria’s relentless pressure which ensured the bus data entered the public domain.
The initial release covers the first three months of 2014 and contains details of each incident type, including trips and falls on buses and collisions between them and other road users.
The past year or so has seen an understandable media, TfL and Mayoral focus on the role of HGVs in accidents and deaths and spurred major players to look at how they can be made safer, either by selective banning or through design changes.
But with 1,889 people killed or seriously injured in incidents involving buses over the past five years, Tom and other safety campaigners believe it’s time London’s 8,700 buses and individual operators underwent the same scrutiny.
There are already plans to trial detection equipment on buses which will “help drivers be more aware of pedestrians and cyclists near their vehicles”. If the trials are successful the equipment could be rolled out across the entire fleet.
But Assembly Members want TfL and the Mayor to go further and conduct a comprehensive study which looks at the role of specific roads, bus routes and operators in pushing up accident numbers.
A lot of the information needed for a such a study is now in the public domain which means that even if an official study fails to materialise, safety campaigners and the media will be able to conduct their own.