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London buses could soon have automatic brakes, audible warnings and brand new fronts

PUBLISHED: 17:01 17 August 2017

Buses across London could soon look different and have auditory warning signals.

Buses across London could soon look different and have auditory warning signals.

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Transport for London has announced plans to test new safety technology

Hopes of wiping out the number of people killed in or by a London bus have been boosted by new safety plans.

Transport for London announced on Thursday it is to trial automatic braking and audible warning systems on the capital’s buses, alongside measures including new mirrors to improve driver vision, as part of the ‘vision zero’ campaign.

In April 2015, an elderly pedestrian died after they were hit by an N89 bus in Shooters Hill. Since then there have been no recorded deaths related to buses in the borough.

Under plans, which will be tested at the Transport Research Laboratory, bus interiors could have higher-grip flooring with sharp corners softened, to lessen the risk of harm by falling.

The front of buses could also be redesigned to lessen the impact of a crash.

Erith and Thamesmead MP Teresa Pearce said the trial “could ultimately lead to a new standard of bus safety in London”.

She added: “The research will hopefully identify practical bus design improvements that will lead to greater safety for bus passengers, road users and pedestrians.”

Bus operators are already expected to fit new software limiting the speed of their vehicles later this year after a trial in 2016.

Once trials have gone ahead, any new proposals will be written into operators’ contracts from the end of 2018.

Cynthia Barlow, chair of RoadPeace, said: “RoadPeace welcomes the news that an independent contractor has been engaged to lead on the bus safety trials. Safer buses, including redesign and additional safety features, are key to eliminating death and serious injury involving a bus in London by 2030. TfL’s bus safety programme is a good example of tackling danger at source.”

TfL’s Managing Director of Surface Transport, Leon Daniels, said: “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, this trial is part of our comprehensive programme to make road deaths caused by London buses a thing of the past.”

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