TfL trials intelligent speed adaptation system

09.23 | 12 May 2009 | | 2 comments

Transport for London (TfL) is developing an intelligent speed adaptation (ISA) system, which it claims could cut road casualties in London by 10% if two-thirds of motorists used it.

The technology enables drivers to select an option where acceleration is stopped automatically at the speed limit specific to any road in London within the M25 area.

The device can be disabled at the touch of a button, at which point it reverts to an advisory status where the current speed limit is simply displayed as a driver aid. There is also a complete override switch with disables the system entirely.

The technology will be tested in the six-month trial after which a report will be submitted to the mayor of London and the technology will be made available to external organisations.

TfL plans to install the system in a taxi and 20 of its own vehicles and Southwark Council has already expressed an interest in fitting ISA to more than 300 of its vehicles.

The trial will monitor driver behaviour, journey times and the effect that driving within the speed limit has on vehicle emissions.

Chris Lines, head of TfL’s road safety unit, said: "We know the technology works, and now we want to know how drivers in all types of vehicles respond to it.”

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    I’d be interested in knowing where the ‘disturbing amount of evidence discrediting this flawed initiative’ can be found. All the evidence I am aware of points to ISA providing benefits which substantially outweigh its costs in terms of lives and injuries saved through reduced collisions. Then there’s the likely fuel savings, emissions reductions, noise reductions and smoother traffic flows with less congestion. Finally there’s the fact that the majority of the drivers in one of the trials, having experienced these benefits felt that it should be compulsory fitment to all new vehicles. The fact that operating situations are constantly changing for road vehicles is not ‘beyond the capacity of the technology’- the driver is still in control and able to over-ride ISA. Looking at the number of collisions on our roads however I’d suggest that many drivers would benefit from the assistance of ISA to make the roads safer for all.

    Duncan, Worthing
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    ISA has taken a great deal of time and public money to develope under Oliver Carstens at Leeds University. There is a prima facie case that it is of value but there a disturbing amount of evidence discrediting this flawed initiative. The technology may be appropriate in applications such as the DLR but not on road vehicles where operating situations are constantly changing therefore beyond the capacity of the tecnology. The thought of this technolgy being fitted to a PTW causes me serious misgivings.

    Roy Buchanan, Principal Road Safety Officer, Sutton
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