TRL to conduct Transport for London’s new bus safety technology trials


As part of London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s Vision Zero approach to road deaths, which aims for no one to be killed in or by a London bus by 2030, Transport for London (TfL) plans to test new safety technology on the UK capital’s buses and has appointed a contractor to conduct the trials.

TfL intends to test several new bus technologies that are intended to improve the safety of pedestrians, passengers, and other road users, with the results of the trials to be fed into a new Bus Safety Standard that will be incorporated into bus operator contracts from the end of 2018.

TfL has also published a report on Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) following a successful trial in 2016. Bus operators are now required to fit the technology, which limits the speed at which buses are able to travel, from later this year. TfL commissioned a trial of ISA technology on two bus routes, and all buses equipped with the system remained within the speed limit 97-99% of the time, proving its effectiveness.

TfL has contracted the UK’s Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) to conduct completely independent trials of all the new technology. TRL’s leading engineers and technical specialists have been appointed to work with TfL, bus manufacturers and operators to test a range of innovative safety measures, including:

• Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) 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 redesign 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 designs.

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 toward Vision Zero, and this trial is part of our comprehensive program to make road deaths caused by buses a thing of the past.”

Tim Bellenger, London TravelWatch’s director of policy and investigation, commented, “We welcome the appointment of a lead contractor to trial new safety initiatives for buses in London. Anything that improves safety for passengers and other road users is a welcome step forward.”

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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).