London buses will be fitted with technology to make sure they stick to local speed limits from next year, according to Transport for London (TfL).
In an attempt to make sure that fewer people are killed on London’s streets, the technology to prevent acceleration over speed limits has been tested and will now go into all new buses.
The system cannot prevent speed increases naturally when a bus is travelling downhill for example, but trials on two routes found that the adapted buses stayed within the limit 97 to 99 per cent of the time.
Leon Daniels, managing director of surface transport at TfL, said: "We are investigating a range of new technologies that can make our bus network the safest in the world."
He said he would now work with manufacturers so all buses coming off the production line could be fitted with the technology from next year.
The Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) technology is said to be ‘particularly effective’ in 20mph zones’ - which have been adopted in many locations across the capital, with the borough of Islington being instrumental in engaging with the lower safety limit.
TfL intends to require all new buses from 2017 to have this technology fitted.
Last month we reported how the Mayor of London and TfL 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 and improved wing mirror design and windscreen glazing to reduce the impact of a collision.
Last year we reported how one in 10 complaints about the behaviour of bus drivers in London are related to incidents involving cyclists.
A Freedom of Information request submitted by the Evening Standard to TfL found that cyclists were involved in 25 of around 250 incidents that were the subject of complaints made by the public during a two-week period last August.
In one of those, a number 45 bus hit a cyclist because the driver was apparently distracted by a female pedestrian, with the complainant saying: “He was concentrating on her so much that he didn’t see a cyclist and hit them.”
Another complaint recorded how a passenger saw the driver of a number 53 bus “overtake a cyclist causing her to be forced off the road and have to throw herself off the bike to ensure she did not get hit.”
However TfL said that the number of complaints received each year – between 4,000 and 5,000 – needed to be put into the context of the 2.4 billion passenger trips made by bus in the capital each year.