This post was first published by Croydon Advertiser on 16/08/2017.
Buses could get automatic brakes and play warning noises in a bid to eradicate road casualties
Automatic brakes and speakers to warn pedestrians are among new safety features that could be installed on buses in Croydon in an effort to make bus collision casualties “a thing of the past”.
The measures are just some of several being trialled by Transport for London (TfL) to improve bus safety as part of a plan to eradicate deaths on, or caused by, London buses by 2030.
According to TfL’s director of surface transport, Leon Daniels, the number of casualties on London’s roads is “unacceptable”.
The autonomous braking system, announced today (August 16), would run alongside the manual brakes, detecting surroundings and, if needed, automatically applying the brakes, while the audible warning system, perhaps similar to reversing noises on lorries, aims to prevent pedestrian collisions.
Other measures being tested include warning lights, a redesign of the front of London buses to reduce the impact of crashes, and extra mirrors for drivers.
Improvements to safety for passengers could include high-grip floors inside buses and eliminating sharp edges on the bus interiors.
The new systems are due to be tested by private consultants at the Transport Research Laboratory, and if introduced would be written into the safety standards included in contracts for bus operators from next year.
Meanwhile, a system to limit the maximum speed a bus can travel is set to be phased in from later this year after it was approved.
The new safety plans have been unveiled after Mayor of London Sadiq Khan announced a so-called “Vision Zero” approach to road safety earlier this year.
The strategy means that the priority for transport and road design will be totally eradicating deaths on the capital’s roads.
In April, Croydon Council’s scrutiny committee discussed adopting the same approach, with data from that meeting revealing that each road death in the borough has an estimated financial impact of £1.7million.
Former Croydon Council leader Val Shawcross, who is now London’s Deputy Mayor for Transport said nothing is more important to Mr Khan than the safety of Londoners.
She said: “We are doing our utmost to make the streets of the capital safer and these measures can potentially make big improvements to bus safety.”
Mr Daniels added: “We are determined to drive down the unacceptable number of people injured or killed on London’s roads, and make streets safe for pedestrians and cyclists.
“Not a day is being wasted in working towards Vision Zero and this trial is part of our comprehensive programme to make road deaths caused by London buses a thing of the past.”