New HGV technology trial to improve road safety

24 April 2014
"Improving the safety of all road users is vitally important and, with technology moving so quickly, it is important that companies know that any safety equipment they invest in not only offers value for money, but does what it says on the tin. By funding this project, we can help companies make informed choices, encouraging use of the best equipment available and helping to drive development into further improvements in the future"

A new project funded by Transport for London (TfL) will independently test blind spot safety technology, which can be fitted to Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) to help reduce the risk of collisions between HGVs, pedestrians and cyclists.  

One of TfL's top priorities is to reduce by 40 per cent the number of people killed or seriously injured on London's roads by 2020.

Recently, the Mayor and TfL published six commitments which, working with a range of partners, are guiding initiatives to deliver this.

In particular, action is being taken to prioritise the safety of the most vulnerable road users:  pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.  

The new safety initiative, which builds on TfL’s work into Construction Logistics and Cyclists’ Safety, will be carried out by the independent Transport Research Laboratory (TRL).

The project will evaluate the effectiveness of the full range of blind spot safety technology in spotting pedestrians and cyclists. This includes camera monitoring systems, optical and radar detection systems and other sensors fitted to HGVs.  

The findings will then be used to create new and detailed performance criteria, such as the distance objects can be detected, how easily the equipment detects vulnerable road users, and how reliable the equipment is, to allow for independent testing and evaluation of products on the market today. 

Companies will be able to use the new standard testing criteria to make a more informed choice about the types of safety equipment they invest in for their fleet vehicles.

It will also help ensure a wider take-up of the best equipment while encouraging further innovation from product developers, helping to save lives both across London and more widely across the UK.   

TRL has now contacted more than a dozen companies across the UK, inviting them to take part in the evaluation and to become one of the first suppliers to be accredited using this approach.

Once completed, the research will be made available to download from the TfL website and be used by the operators and manufacturers of HGVs and suppliers of safety technology.  

Leon Daniels, Managing Director of Surface Transport at TfL, said: “Improving the safety of all road users is vitally important and, with technology moving so quickly, it is important that companies know that any safety equipment they invest in not only offers value for money, but does what it says on the tin. By funding this project, we can help companies make informed choices, encouraging use of the best equipment available and helping to drive development into further improvements in the future.”  

The research project builds on the continuing work that TfL is carrying out to make London’s roads safer for all.

Recently, it was announced that trials of a range of innovative radar-based technologies fitted to London Buses will be carried out this summer.

The Mayor of London, TfL and London Councils are also proposing a Safer Lorry Scheme, which will require every vehicle in London over 3.5 tonnes to be fitted with sideguards to protect cyclists from falling under the wheels.

It will also require vehicles to be fitted with mirrors giving the driver a better view of cyclists and pedestrians around their vehicles.  

For more information on the work TfL is doing to make freight deliveries safer, please visit www.tfl.gov.uk/freight

Notes to Editors:

Companies wishing to submit their technology to the trials can do so by emailing [email protected]

More information about TfL’s Construction Logistics and Cyclists Safety can be found here http://www.tfl.gov.uk/info-for/freight/safety-and-the-environment/improving-construction-safety?intcmp=7823

The Standard for Construction Logistics: Managing Work Related Road Risk can be found here: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/cdn/static/cms/documents/standard-for-construction-logistics.pdf

In October 2013, TfL and the Department for Transport (DfT) formed the Industrial HGV Task Force (IHTF) which aims to crackdown on non-compliant HGV operators and drivers.

In the past six months the partnership has worked successfully to target the most dangerous commercial vehicles, helping to improve the safety of everyone using London’s roads.

This intelligence led enforcement has seen over 1,960 vehicles targeted and stopped, 24 vehicles seized, 15 prosecutions progressed through the Criminal Justice System and 519 fixed penalty notices issued for offences

In June 2013, the Mayor and Transport for London published Safe Streets for London: an ambitious and comprehensive plan to reduce further the number of people killed or seriously injured in London by 40 per cent by 2020: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/cdn/static/cms/documents/safe-streets-for-london.pdf

In February 2014 the Mayor and TfL published six safety commitments, which supports the plan and brings focus to the range of actions needed by us and our partners to make our streets safer: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/cdn/static/cms/documents/safe-london-streets-our-six-road-safety-commitments.pdf   

The six key commitments are:

1.    To lead the way in achieving a 40 per cent reduction in the number of people killed or seriously injured on the capital’s roads by 2020 - with a longer term ambition of freeing London’s roads from death and serious injury

2.    To prioritise safety of the most vulnerable groups - pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists - which make up 80 per cent of serious and fatal collision

3.    To provide substantial funding for road safety, invested in the most effective and innovative schemes

4.    To increase efforts with the police and enforcement agencies in tackling illegal, dangerous and careless road user behaviour that puts people at risk

5.    To campaign for changes in national and EU law to make roads, vehicles and drivers safer

6.    To work in partnership with boroughs and London’s road safety stakeholders to spread best practice and share data and information