Automatic braking and audible warning systems will be trialed, alongside measures including new mirrors to improve the driver's vision, as part of five technologies Transport for London (TfL) is testing on London buses.
Earlier this year, London Mayor Sadiq Khan set out a “Vision Zero” approach to road danger in his draft transport strategy. It aims for no one to be killed in or by a London bus by 2030, and for deaths and serious injuries from road collisions to be eliminated from London's streets by 2041.
All of the new technology will receive a completely independent trial at the Transport Research Laboratory. Their leading engineers and technical specialists have been appointed to work with TfL, bus manufacturers, and operators to trial a range of innovative 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.
- Vision improvements for drivers, including improved mirror design
The results of the trials will feed 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, following a successful trial in 2016. Bus operators are required to equip the technology, which limits the speed buses are able to travel, from later this year.