Transport for London (TfL) has confirmed that a new bus sound will be trialled on the latest electric bus route in the capital.
Starting in January, the innovative bus sound, it is hoped, will improve safety on London’s roads.
The sound has been developed by TfL and will be played through special speakers inside the front of the bus so all road users are aware of the electric buses when moving at slow speeds.
It is a necessary introduction given that electric and hybrid buses are almost silent when on the move, which poses a clear safety risk, especially for those who are blind or partially sighted.
The trial for the innovative bus sound has harnessed the expertise of Guide Dogs for the Blind, London Travelwatch, as well as other accessibility groups.
The sound, which will eventually become a regulatory requirement for all ‘quiet’ running vehicles, will be trialled on the 100 bus route from January for six months; over the course of the year, the sound will be trialled on other routes, as more zero-emission vehicles are introduced, and it is an element of the Bus Safety Standard, part of the Mayor’s Vision Zero strategy.
Claire Mann, Director of Bus Operations at TfL, commented: “We are committed to ensuring the safest buses are driven on London’s roads and pleased to announce this latest development with the Bus Safety Standard as we work towards Vision Zero.
“Working with a broad range of stakeholders and trialling AVAS on the 100 bus route and other routes in the following months will ensure the system is best equipped to alert all road users to the presence of quiet running buses, preventing collisions and making deaths and serious injuries on our roads a thing of the past.”
This acoustic vehicle alerting system (AVAS) will be consistent across all London bus operators, and also will be available to all transport providers in the UK.