TRL has been appointed by Transport for London to lead trials of new safety technology on London buses. Automatic braking and audible warning systems will be trialled alongside measures including new mirrors to improve the driver’s vision.

Earlier this year the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, set out a ‘Vision Zero’ approach to road danger 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.

All of the new technology will receive a completely independent trial at the Transport Research Laboratory. Their leading engineers and technical specialists have been appointed to work with TfL, bus manufacturers and operators to trial a range of innovative safety measures including:

  • 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

The results of the trials will feed into a new Bus Safety Standard that will be incorporated into bus operator contracts from the end of 2018. Transport for London has also published a report on Intelligent Speed Assistance today (16 August) following a successful trial in 2016. Bus operators are required to fit the technology, which limits the speed at which buses are able to travel, from later this year.

London’s Deputy Mayor for Transport, Val Shawcross, said: “Nothing is more important to the Mayor than the safety of Londoners.  We are doing our utmost to make the streets of the capital safer and these measures can potentially make big improvements to bus safety.”

Richard Cuerden, Academy Director at TRL said: “We are delighted to be appointed lead contractor for the bus safety trials in London.  TRL has a long history in improving road safety and is committed to creating a transport system that is safer, cleaner, more accessible and efficient for all.”

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 and this trial is part of our comprehensive programme to make road deaths caused by London buses a thing of the past.” 



Notes to editors

  • The Bus Safety Programme will contribute towards new bus specific road safety targets proposed in the draft Mayor’s Transport Strategy:
    • An operational target to achieve zero people killed in or by a London bus by 2030
    • An operational target of a 70 per cent reduction in the number of people killed or seriously injured in or by a bus, by 2021/22 from the 2005-09 baseline (using STATS19 data)
  • Full details of TfL’s Bus Safety Programme can be found at
  • In the run up to 2016, TfL commissioned a trial of ISA technology on two bus routes. All buses fitted with ISA remained within the speed limit 97-99 per cent of the time, proving its effectiveness. The extremely rare incidents of excess speeds were seen on downhill sections of road. The full trial report is available online at LINK.

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