London buses to trial automatic speed-limiting technology

London’s buses are to be fitted with intelligent technology that prevents them from exceeding the speed limit wherever they are in the city.

Intelligent Speed Adaptation connects to GPS satellites so that the buses will ‘know’ where they are on any road, and automatically restricts the speed based on a speed-limit map. It will be trialled on buses running on two busy routes.

Both routes chosen for the project — 19 (Battersea to Finsbury Park) and 486 (North Greenwich to Bexleyheath) — go through a variety of different road environments and frequent changes in speed limits.

The trial, which starts next month, includes 47 London buses and is a UK first.

Transport for London (TfL) wants to test the effectiveness of the system in promoting compliance with speed limits across the road network and improving safety. It also wants to understand the attitude of drivers and passengers to the technology before potentially rolling it out across London’s 8,700-strong bus fleet.

Intelligent Speed Adaptation improves road safety by reducing incidences of speeding for all road users, allowing drivers to focus on looking out for potential issues on the road rather than checking their speed limit, commented Leon Daniels, managing director of Surface Transport at TfL.

If this trial confirms that this technology could be beneficial to the safety of London’s roads, it could be introduced across our bus fleet.

Speed-limit data used by the system comes from TfL’s Digital Speed Limit map of London, which was relaunched last year to help encourage development of new connected vehicle technologies and mobile phone apps for the road, Engineering and Technology Magazine reported.

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