London introduces world-leading Bus Safety Standard in Vision Zero initiative


Transport for London (TfL) has published its new Bus Safety Standard that aims to make transit vehicles in the UK capital the safest in the world, as part of the city’s Vision Zero action plan, helping to deliver the mayor’s target of no-one being killed on or by a London bus by 2030.

London’s buses carry 6.5 million passengers every day and are a particularly important service for younger and older people, those with disabilities, and citizens on lower incomes. Developed in partnership by the UK’s independent Transport Research Laboratory (TRL), the new standard details the safety requirements that all bus operators will need to adopt up to 2024, with the regulations intended to also reduce road danger in the shorter term through a range of safety features required from 2019. From next year, all new London buses must include the following safety measures:

• Technology that automatically limits the speed at which buses are able to travel;

• An audible alert for pedestrians and other road users of the presence of buses;

• Slip reduction measures inside buses such as high-grip flooring;

• More blindspot mirrors and reversing cameras;

• Special warning pedal indicators for drivers.

The innovative new safety measures have been thoroughly tested by TRL’s engineers and technical specialists who worked with TfL, bus manufacturers and operators to fully test and trial the technology to ensure it could be introduced on London’s buses as quickly as possible.

Close working and collaboration between bus operators and manufacturers has ensured the standard will deliver swift and real road danger reduction. In the longer term, the standard will require London’s bus operators to incorporate new features such as advanced emergency braking (AEB), pedal confusion interventions, and specially redesigned bus fronts that reduce the impact of any collisions. All will be implemented by 2024.

The evidence-led Bus Safety Standard is a key part of the recently published Vision Zero action plan, and will build on the recent improvements in bus safety in London. Over the past decade the number of people killed or seriously injured as a result of a collision involving a bus or coach has decreased by 54%, but the Mayor and TfL recognize that much more needs to be done in order to eliminate fatalities altogether.

“While the safety of the bus network has improved, no death involving a bus is inevitable or acceptable,” noted Claire Mann, director of bus operations at TfL. “That’s why we have worked with the industry to create an innovative evidence-led Bus Safety Standard. The enhanced safety features it will require will make London’s buses the safest in the world and will save lives. We know that technology and innovation have the potential to further improve safety in the future, so our standard evolves and tightens over time, requiring features that aren’t yet available commercially, but which will be with the industry’s energy and investment.”

Deputy mayor for transport Heidi Alexander commented, “Although progress has been made making our buses safer, every single death or serious injury on our roads is unacceptable. London is leading the way across the world, using technology to make buses safer for everyone on our roads.”

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About Author


Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).