London buses trial speed control tech

Transport for London is testing Intelligent Speed Adaptation to keep bus and taxi drivers from speeding.

London buses

New technology being trialled by Transport for London (TfL) will automatically prevent bus drivers from speeding.

The Intelligent Speed Adaptation (ISA) system would allow TfL to cut off acceleration when a driver takes a bus over the speed limit. Such controls can be disabled if necessary, however.

Alternatively, the system can be used to simply display the speed limit alongside a happy face or scowling face, depending on whether the driver is at the right speed.

ISA is based on a digital speed limit map created by TfL earlier this year, which is regularly updated. TfL noted that GPS manufacturers can also use the map to offer speed limit warnings in their own Sat nav devices.

"ISA is intended as a road safety device, but if Londoners embrace this technology we may well see additional benefits including reduced congestion as a result of collisions and reduced vehicle emissions as drivers adopt a smoother driving style," said Chris Lines, head of TfL's London Road Safety Unit, in a statement:

"We know the technology works, and now we want to know how drivers in all types of vehicles respond to it," Hines added.

Over the summer, one London bus will trial ISA, but TfL said its Road Safety Unit wants to test the tech in taxis as well as 20 of its own engineering and road inspection vans.

Southwark Council is already asking to use ISA in 300 of its vehicles, according to TfL.

Councillor Jeff Hook, executive member for environment at the council, said: "This technology could revolutionise the way we keep our roads safer in Southwark, and that's why we're really interested in this trial, and if it's successful we hope to kit out our entire fleet of nearly three hundred vehicles as soon as funding allows."

The results of the trial will be sent to the Mayor's office and published next spring, with the tech commercially available as early as next year, TfL said.

Click here to read how TfL is looking to use technology in travel.

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