TfL and the Mayor of London have launched a bus safety scheme. They describe it as a ‘world leading’ programme to ‘drive major improvements’ in safety across the capital’s bus network. The programme intends to bring together the newest technology, training, incentives, support, reporting and transparency. It is aimed towards helping the authority meet the Mayor’s target of halving the number of people killed or seriously injured on the city’s roads by 2020. Despite launching this campaign, TfL has stressed the capital’s bus fleet ‘is one of the safest in the world’, with 2.5 injuries for every million passenger journeys.
The safety programme sets out to develop a world leading bus safety standard for London. A range of innovative new technologies are currently being considered including collision avoidance systems, which utilise sensors to warn drivers of potential dangers and trigger Automatic Emergency Braking systems. Intelligent Speed Adaption systems are currently being trialled on the city’s buses. Other potential design innovations include improving wing mirror design and windscreen glazing to reduce the impact of any collision. Safety technologies and products will be developed and tested by manufacturers on London Buses throughout 2016 and incorporated into new buses delivered from September 2017.
There will be an update to TfL’s bus contracts to include new safety incentives over the next three months. It intends to provide a UK first Incident Support Service for those affected by fatal or serious injuries. Additional bus collision data will be published and made more accessible. This will break the most serious collisions down by road user group. On a dedicated web page, the transport authority will also make information more accessible and provide graphs illustrating long term trends. Greater transparency will be provided on bus collision investigations. TfL will provide a new safety training module to all 24,700 drivers and by the end of 2016, bespoke ‘In the Zone’ training is expected to have been delivered to them all.
TfL’s MD of Surface Transport, Leon Daniels, said, ‘The Capital’s bus network is very safe and we are determined to take action to make it even safer. The Bus Safety Programme will examine a range of improvements, from vehicle design to bus driver training, from giving more information to the public to provision of support to those affected by serious bus incidents. We will also provide more information about bus safety and the outcomes of investigations into the most serious incidents.’