The Mayor of London and Transport for London (TfL) have this week launched a new safety programme across London's bus network. As well as new safety incentives and technological innovations, there will also be an additional safety training module for all drivers.
Other changes include greater transparency with regards to bus collision investigations and data, and the introduction of an Incident Support Service within TfL’s customer service team.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson MP, said:
“I'm proud that we have one of the safest bus networks in the world, but I'm determined to see it get even better. By creating this world-leading programme we will be placing an even greater focus on safety, making the most of the latest technology and bold initiatives to help keep passengers and vulnerable road users safe. Through this we will be able to make real progress towards my target of significantly reducing the number of people killed and seriously injured on our roads.”
Various safety innovations will be tested on London’s buses throughout the year and will be incorporated into new buses delivered from September 2017. Technology currently being considered includes collision avoidance systems where sensors warn the driver of potential dangers, triggering automatic emergency braking systems; an intelligent speed adaption system; and improved wing mirror design and windscreen glazing to reduce the impact of a collision.
All 24,700 drivers will have undergone the new safety training module by the end of the year. ‘In the Zone’ is said to raise drivers' awareness of road risks, including those that relate to cyclists. TfL hope that over time the training will reduce the number of incidents on London's roads.
Tom Kearney, who became a pedestrian campaigner after a TfL bus put him into a coma in December 2009, welcomed the developments. However, writing on his Safer Oxford Street blog, he said that much would depend on to what extent the various measures were actually implemented.
“TfL's announced danger reduction actions are ambitious, laudable — and most importantly — measurable. Whether or not TfL’s proposed programme can be called “world leading” will depend on how — or if — these actions are actually executed. While I can only assume TfL will never acknowledge the fact that relentless campaigning by TfL bus collision survivors and their families has been one of the key factors that has taken TfL to this critical juncture, as a survivor, I take personal satisfaction in the fact that … TfL has finally announced this far-reaching Bus Safety Programme.”