Automatic brakes and audible warnings are to be trialled on London’s bus fleet in a bid to boost road safety.
Transport for London has appointed the Transport Research Laboratory to carry out “a completely independent trial” of the technologies which it hopes will help efforts to cut the number of people killed and seriously injured on London’s streets.
The laboratory will work with TfL, bus manufacturers and operators to test the effectiveness of several new safety measures including:
- Autonomous Emergency Braking Systems that 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
- Improvements to vision for drivers, including improved mirror design
TfL says results from the trials will feed into a new Bus Safety Standard to be incorporated into bus operator contracts from the end of 2018.
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.”
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.”
News of the trial has been welcomed by safety campaigner Sarah Hope whose family were hit by a London bus.
She 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.”