New satnav system warns lorry drivers in London that they are approaching cyclist 'hotspots'

Device uses TfL data to identify where popular cycling routes and common lorry itineraries converge

by Simon_MacMichael   April 18, 2013  

ProNav PNN420 (source Navevo)

An electronics firm has developed a new satellite navigation device which uses Transport for London (TfL) data to warn lorry drivers of when they are approaching locations where there is an increased risk of collision with a cyclist.  The company, Navevo, plans to eventually roll its system out to other cities in the UK, reports the BBC.

Lorries account for 5 per cent of London’s traffic but are involved in half of cyclist fatalities in the capital, with 28 riders killed following a collision with one between 2009 and 2012 according to TfL figures. It is believed arouhnd one in three of those fatalities involves a construction lorry.

According to Navevo, its ProNav PNN420 system “includes the world’s first HGV Cyclist Alert system to acknowledge the growing number of cyclists in the London area.

“This component generates an alert when approaching a junction or section of road that has been designated by TfL as a “HGV/Cyclist convergence area,” which are locations such as junctions where large numbers of HGVs and Cyclists converge.

“Drivers are notified with both a visual map overlay displaying a 50-metre radius hotspot zone, and an audible alert when entering this zone to remind them to take extra care.”

Other London-specific features include London Lorry Ban routing and information on Loading & Red Route bays.

The BBC reports that TfL provided Navevo on 100 separate ‘hotspots’ – locations where popular cycle routes and common lorry travel plans converge – and that it hopes the new system will improve the safety of riders.

"This is the first time that this information has been made available to a company specifically to provide additional information for HGV drivers," said a TfL spokesman.

"We are happy to work with other developers should they wish to provide similar information within their products," he added.

Navevo chief executive Nick Caesari told the BBC: "The safety of drivers, cyclists and other users of the road is a concern for everybody and we are proud to lead the navigation industry by launching this world first safety feature."

Martin Gibbs, policy and legal affairs director at British Cycling, said that technology alone could not be relied upon to improve cyclist safety and was only part of what needed to be done.

"Any technology that can help protect cyclists is welcome and we applaud TfL and Navevo for coming up with a system that can warn drivers about particularly dangerous junctions," said policy director Martin Gibbs.

"However, this issue cannot be solved by technology alone.

"Over half of cyclist deaths in London involve HGVs so we'd like to see restrictions on the times when they can enter cities as well as mandatory fitting of sensors, side-bars and better HGV education on cyclist awareness."

Last week, following the death of polar scientist Katharine Giles when she was struck by a tipper lorry in Victoria, Mayor of London Boris Johnson said  he wanted to ban lorries from the city unless equipped with safety features including additional mirrors and skirts that prevent cyclists from being dragged underneath.

Besides making physical safety features on lorries compulsory – the Safer Lorries, Safer Cycling campaign from the LCC (London Cycling Campaign) urges councils to adhere to minimum standards on the vehicles they and their contractors use.

It has also released a design of a Safer Urban Lorry – there have also been calls to eliminate risks where possible simply by removing the potential for conflict.

Following the death of Dr Giles, there have been calls, including from LCC and British Cycling, to consider banning lorries from city centres, or at least restricting their movements, at peak commuting times.

Earlier this year, one of the recommendations of a report for TfL published carried out by the Transport Research Laboratory that looked at collisions between construction vehicles and cyclists was to seek to eliminate conflict at hotspots by routing construction traffic away from them.

10 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

"yeah, my satnav didn't tell me to look out for bikes so I didn't"

Excuse from a driver using the system having just squashed a commuter

posted by Al__S [591 posts]
18th April 2013 - 9:52

6 Likes

agreed - this introduces a real risk of complacency in any other locations

Buddha said:

Believe nothing, No matter where you read it,
Or who has said it, Not even if I have said it,
Unless it agrees with your own reason
And your own common sense.

mad_scot_rider's picture

posted by mad_scot_rider [555 posts]
18th April 2013 - 10:45

8 Likes

May as well add some other warnings to the satnav:

Use your mirrors
Watch the road
Get off the phone
Stop looking at that girl
Stop fiddling with me
Did you remember to wash behind your ears this morning?

FFS.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3329 posts]
18th April 2013 - 11:25

9 Likes

you missed the most obvious one "hey fat pie eating trucker you just drove past a prostitute and you didn't murder her is everything alright are you feeling yourself this morning" ha ha I may get slated for the comment but hey how many trucks pull back in on you guys before they have compleated the overtake?

tired old fart

posted by tired old fart [82 posts]
18th April 2013 - 11:45

5 Likes

Trucks are ok. Oddly white van men are as well. The two worst are middle-aged men in company cars and dopey housewives. I am a middle-aged man and I adore housewives but they are both a menace.

posted by maxburgoyne [24 posts]
18th April 2013 - 12:31

5 Likes

The problem with most equipment designed to make driving safer is that it takes away the emphasis on drivers actually engaging and consciously behaving in a safer manner.

Making cars safer, for example, doesn't make people outside cars safer. Airbags, seatbelts and crumple zones massively improved driver safety, but that just means people have more confidence to drive badly. If you want people to drive safely you should get rid of airbags and seatbelts and attach really sharp blades to the dashboard aimed at the drivers necks - then no one would drive faster than above walking pace because the danger to them would be real.

I fear that technology that warns for specific types of dangers would just mean drivers look for those dangers less at other points. It may be really effective when in action, but it's the affect it has on behaviour more widely that i worry about.

posted by paulrattew [51 posts]
18th April 2013 - 12:45

6 Likes

Is this for when mirrors, road awareness and common sense all fail?

I'm a human being, God damn it! My life has value. I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore.

posted by Carl [136 posts]
18th April 2013 - 16:38

5 Likes

"I know the cyclist was directly in front of me, but the Sat Nav didn't tell me not to hit him/her"
"So do I sue Tomtom for my broken wind shield?"

@rich22222

posted by rich22222 [122 posts]
18th April 2013 - 18:47

7 Likes

Am I missing something here surely if it's illegal to look at a map or A2Z etc whilst driving would that not also include the sat nav screen. Thinking Plus the location of these devices on peoples windscreens is obscuring their view of the road.

These navigation aids should be made so that the screen goes blank as soon as the gps says the vehicle is moving.

FATBEGGARONABIKE's picture

posted by FATBEGGARONABIKE [595 posts]
19th April 2013 - 10:33

6 Likes

wrote:
designated by TfL as a “HGV/Cyclist convergence area,”

Do they publish this list?

If so, I propose we look at it now, in 6, 12 months etc, and see what they do about those "convergence areas".

If not - how do i do a FoI request?

PJ McNally's picture

posted by PJ McNally [591 posts]
1st December 2013 - 17:25

4 Likes