Groundbreaking safety technology trials on London buses to start this summer

Thinking Highways
By Thinking Highways April 2, 2014 15:22

Groundbreaking safety technology trials on London buses to start this summer

Image © Transport for London

The Mayor and Transport for London (TfL) have this week announced that London Buses will carry out a groundbreaking trial of innovative detection software this summer, helping to further reduce the number of collisions involving pedestrians and cyclists in London.

One of TfL’s top priorities is to reduce by 40 per cent the number of people killed or seriously injured on London’s roads by 2020. Recently, the Mayor and TfL published six commitments which, working with a range of partners, are guiding initiatives to deliver this. In particular, action is being taken to prioritise the safety of the most vulnerable road users:  pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.

The innovative trials by London Buses are part of TfL’s draft Pedestrian Safety Action Plan, published for public review this week.

The trials will build on research previously carried out by TfL on detection equipment and will look to test the effectiveness of radar and optical technology for reducing collisions with cyclists and pedestrians.

An initial trial in August 2013 showed that this technology – which directly alerts bus drivers to pedestrians and cyclists close to the vehicle – had significant potential but that more research was needed.

TfL is now calling on developers to submit information about similar technology which could form part of the on street trial this summer.

Subject to the outcome of the trials, a decision will be made whether the technology could be more widely rolled out across London’s 8,700 buses.

The draft Pedestrian Safety Action Plan, compiled by TfL working alongside key stakeholders, will look to address the concerns and challenges faced by pedestrians across London, helping to turn the capital’s streets into a safer, more pleasant place for all.

The draft plan outlines 30 key actions which will directly target the key factors in collisions and help further reduce pedestrian casualties across London. The actions include:

  • By 2016, TfL will double the number of pedestrian crossings operating Pedestrian Countdown from around 200 to more than 400, roughly 10 per cent of all pedestrian crossings in London. TfL will also be strongly encouraging boroughs to adopt Pedestrian Countdown as standard to reduce pedestrian uncertainty at crossings
  • Building on its innovative crossing technology trials, a new ‘gold standard’ for all new and upgraded pedestrian crossings will be developed. This would look to include Pedestrian Countdown timers to give pedestrians a clear indication of how much time they have to safely cross the road, as well as ensuring that all pedestrian crossing times take account of national safety standards and the level of pedestrian demand
  • Producing the first London Pedestrian Design Guidance to plan and design for safe and comfortable walking environments. TfL will then use this guidance for all TfL funded streets and public realm schemes and strongly encourage London boroughs to adopt these guidelines for their schemes

The Mayor and TfL will continue to lobby the DfT for changes in legislation to improve the safety of pedestrians on London’s roads, calling for a stronger emphasis on pedestrian priority over turning vehicles at side roads in the Highway Code.

They will also push for the creation of an up to date national digital speed limit map to help app developers and the motoring industry revolutionise speed management and information technologies in vehicles.

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: `We’ve made some great strides in improving road safety in recent years, and although things are moving in the right direction there is still much to be done which is why we are working hard to deliver innovative measures – such as these groundbreaking bus technology trials – to ensure that we make our roads as safe as possible for everyone.’

Leon Daniels, Managing Director of Surface Transport said: `We are all pedestrians, and therefore it is vital that we continue to make London’s streets as safe as possible. `These forthcoming trials of innovative pedestrian detection on London Buses, as well as the publication of our draft Pedestrian Safety Action Plan, will build on the huge reductions in serious injuries we have seen in the last decade and demonstrate our commitment to making London’s streets safe for all.’

The publication of the draft Pedestrian Safety Action Plan is part of TfL’s continuing work to improve road safety for all road users across London. Earlier this month, TfL published both London’s first Motorcycle Safety Action Plan and its Delivery Plan for Young People, which included a commitment to provide cycle training to all school children in London.

Image:  Transport for London

Thinking Highways
By Thinking Highways April 2, 2014 15:22