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August 09 2017
By Mel Holley

Mel is the Editor at routeONE magazine. He has more than 30 years’ experience in road and rail transport journalism.

TfL in drive for ‘major
improvements’ in bus safety

Transport for London (TfL) is developing a Bus Safety Standard (BSS), using technology to make buses safer.

When implemented, the BSS will be a requirement for all new buses under TfL contracts.

It will define technical safety requirements that all new buses for London must adhere to. Technologies for detecting vulnerable road users, speed-limiting and speed adaptation (Intelligent Speed Adaptation – ISA) and Automatic Electronic Braking are being considered.

Specifically, TfL is working with bus manufacturers on: autonomous emergency braking; pedal confusion;
 runaway buses; bus fires bus conspicuity; improved driver vision; front of bus redesign; grab poles, bars, and seating; headrests; non-slip flooring 
and quiet running buses.

Manufacturers might offer some improvements across their provincial ranges too.

It is expected that BSS will be introduced in winter 2018, later than the December 2017 target set in 2016.

As part of BSS, the planned iBus 2 programme could include a speed limiting function, interacting with GPS data and linking to a digital speed limit map. There could also be a centralised system for monitoring driver behaviour at a network level.

Design innovations include improving wing mirror design; windscreen glazing and front of bus re-design to reduce the impact of any collision.

Instead of trialling these innovations one at a time, as TfL has done previously with pedestrian and cyclist detection systems and Bus ISA, TfL is looking to trial a number of innovations, which will be written into the vehicle specification as the BSS.

Comments Alexander Dennis: “We’re working with TfL to define a bus safety standard. Each of the items will undergo rigorous analysis and testing, and where an appropriate countermeasure exists, its performance envelope and test methodology will be established, becoming a new requirement in TfL’s BSS.”

The BSS comes as a result of the Bus Safety Programme (BSP) in 2016, with the intention to “drive major improvements in safety across London’s bus network.”

Over the last two years, 25 people have been killed by buses in London, and a further 12,000 injured, mostly from slips, trips and falls on a bus.

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Millbrook 2018