London’s red buses are to be equipped with new safety technology including automatic braking, audible warning systems and new mirrors as part of a trial aimed at improving safety. Mayor of London Sadiq Khan set out a ‘Vision Zero’ approach to road danger earlier this year in his draft transport strategy. It aims for no one to be killed in or by a London bus by 2030, and for deaths and serious injuries from road collisions to be eliminated from London’s streets by 2041.
The new safety features are particularly relevant considering a number of highly publicised accidents in recent times. Earlier this month footage emerged of a jogger pushing a woman into the path of an oncoming bus in May this year, luckily she wasn’t hurt but it was a close call. Last week a double decker bus crashed into a shop near Clapham Junction injuring 10 people.
All of the new technology will be independently trialled at the Transport Research Laboratory and will include:
- Autonomous emergency braking systems that allow the vehicle to detect its surroundings and automatically apply the brakes
- Features to alert pedestrians and other road users of the presence of buses, such as lights or audible warnings
- A re-design of the front of buses, which could reduce the impact of a collision
- Changes to bus interiors to improve passenger safety, such as higher-grip flooring and softening sharp corners
- Improvements to vision for drivers, including improved mirror design