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Londonís buses to be fitted with speed-limiting technology

Wednesday 23rd March 2016

All new buses across London are to be fitted with speed-limiting technology in a bid to improve road safety in the capital.

TfL ran trials of the Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) technology on two bus routes that included a variety of road environments and differing speed limits.

On 18 March it declared the trials a ‘success’ in demonstrating that the technology can be used to control speeds on London's bus network.

TfL says during the trials buses fitted with ISA remained within the speed limit 97-99% of the time, with the rare incidents of excess speeds occurring on downhill sections of road.

TfL also says the technology was particularly effective when travelling through 20mph zones - which it says cover around a quarter of London's roads - helping to ensure other vehicles in the area adhered to the limit.

ISA will become mandatory on all buses entering service from 2017, and will supplement the iBus system* currently fitted to all of London's 9,000 buses.

Isabel Dedring, London’s deputy mayor for transport, said: “The use of this cutting-edge technology is just one example of how we are harnessing the latest technology to reduce the number of fatal and serious injuries on London's roads.”

Leon Daniels, managing director of surface transport at TfL, said: “These trials have proven that speed limiting technology can contribute to safer roads and streets.

“We'll now work with manufacturers so that all buses coming off the production line can be fitted with the technology from next year.”

Photo: George Fox Evangelical Seminary via Flickr. Licenced for use under Creative Commons.

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The technology for this has existed for over a decade, as a bolt-on black box for Euro rated engines. It is good to see that you are catching up with the work that Tom Kearney has voluntarily driven since 2010 as he was recovering from a near fatal encounter with a TfL bus on Oxford Street in 2009. I do commend reading his blog A Safer Oxford Street, and the other interventions on the shopping list for Road Danger reduction.

TfL has actually used buses with a speed limiting system of this sort over a decade ago, not quite as sophisticated, but that is 10 years of developments in mobile communications systems & GPS.

I'm not sure if RSGB actually reported on this at the time, and it seems to have slipped in the TfL corporate memory as well. But to remind folk - buses were limited to a top speed of 29.7 mph +/- 1 % and operated entirely within a 30mph limit (on a TfL contract in Surrey)

The reports at the time noted 3 key factors : There was a significant reduction in minor damage crashes; There was a measurable reduction in fuel consumption; Driver stress was reduced.

Buses and trucks with basic speed management are already in use in many parts of the UK. In N Lanarks the system of a beacon and bus identity 'handshake' cuts the top speed of school buses when they enter the boarding area at a large school. Other kit on refuse trucks limits speeds within a cordon zone - eg waste processing sites, but also in reverse gear.
Dave Holladay

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