FACTS speaks exclusively to Lilli Matson, Director of Transport Strategy at Transport for London, about the ambitous plans to improve road safety in London

The Mayor for London, Transport for London (TfL) and the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) have launched the ‘Vision Zero’ action plan, which sets out plans to eliminate deaths and serious injuries from London’s transport network. Each year more than 2000 people are killed or seriously injured on London’s streets.

Measures outlined in the plan include the introduction of 20mph speed limits on built-up areas on TfL’s road network, the transformation of dangerous junctions, tough safety standards for the design of HGVs and a comprehensive bus safety programme. The plan also sets targets to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on London’s roads by 65% by 2022 and with no-one being killed on or by a bus by 2030, on the road to ‘Vision Zero’ or zero transport-related deaths in 2041.

FACTS spoke exclusively to Lilli Matson, Director of Transport Strategy at Transport for London, about the ambitious plans.

Were freight fleet operators consulted during work on the Vision Zero campaign?

Reducing the number of people being killed and seriously injured is, and has always been, at the heart of everything we do at TfL. Improving safety has been a key topic at TfL Freight Forum discussions in recent years.

The Vision Zero principle and supporting targets were included in the draft Mayor’s Transport Strategy (MTS) for consultation. We used the feedback from the MTS, including from fleet operators, the freight industry and others to inform the Vision Zero action plan.

The action plan details the immediate steps we are taking and the targets we are setting to achieve Vision Zero, but importantly acknowledges this is not just something TfL will achieve alone. Over the coming months and years, we will be engaging with organisations and representative groups right across London, because everyone has a role to play.

What practical steps can hauliers take to ensure their HGVs achieve a sufficient rating under the Direct Vision Standard, as part of the HGV Safety Permit Scheme?

The DVS rating is based on the actual field of vision which a driver could see when operating an HGV. The final DVS calculation will be affected by the vehicle’s height, so items such as tyres, suspension type, springs, mirrors and windows are included to make the assessment as accurate as possible. The DVS rating is based on the vehicle at the point it leaves the manufacturer’s factory. It does not include the type of body fitted.

The HGV Safety Permit only applies to trucks over 12 tonnes (Gross Vehicle Weight).

The DVS is rated on a scale of zero (worst) to five (best) stars. To meet ‘one star’, at least the head and shoulders of 99% of the European adult population must be seen within an ‘acceptable’ distance at the front and side. The ‘acceptable’ distance is 4.5m to the nearside, 2m to the front and 0.6m on the offside of the HGV cab. This distance is linked to where people become directly visible within the area covered by the existing close proximity mirrors and indirect vision becomes complemented by direct vision.

The two, three, four and five star rating boundaries are set by equally dividing the volume of space over and above the one star measurement to show relative direct vision performance.

For further information on the DVS and HGV Permit visit: tfl.gov.uk/direct-vision-hgvs

In October 2020, all zero-star HGVs will be banned unless they prove a ‘safe system’ – what constitutes a ‘safe system’ for HGVs?

Subject to final consultation, the Safe System will include a number of elements:

  • Blind spot elimination and minimisation, for example via a fully operational camera monitoring system; both Class V and VI mirrors; and a sensor system with driver alerts.
  • Warning of intended manoeuvre, for example an audible left-turn vehicle manoeuvring warning
  • Minimising physical impact of a hazard, for example with side-underrun protection

When applying for the Safe System permit, it will be recommended that all drivers undergo specific training on the safety of vulnerable road users and the use and limitations of supplementary vehicle safety equipment. We have engaged with an independent advisory group with representatives from cycling and pedestrian groups, industry trade associations, vehicle manufacturers and government organisations to help with the development of the Safe System.

Will Transport for London continue to encourage the use of vehicle safety technology on HGVs, such as Autonomous Emergency Braking and Intelligent Speed Assistance?

As part of our Vision Zero action plan, we will continue to encourage and support the use of vehicle safety technology in motorised vehicles, such as Intelligent Speed Assistance, Autonomous Emergency Braking and alcohol ignition interlock including mandatory fitment on new vehicles and after-market fitment on existing vehicles where possible. A study by TRL found that Pedestrian Autonomous Emergency Braking and Intelligent Speed Assistance are the two technologies with the most potential for reducing casualties in London.

What role did charities and other public consultation forums play in the work on the Vision Zero campaign’s messaging and details?

As mentioned previously, the Vision Zero action plan and principle were included in the draft Mayor’s Transport Strategy (MTS) for consultation. We used the feedback from the MTS to inform the Vision Zero action plan. This also reflects ongoing engagement with the groups in recent years.

Emergency services, RoadPeace and road safety charity Brake were consulted on the appropriate language to use when discussing road death and collisions before launching the Vision Zero action plan, to ensure our wording was sensitive and appropriate.

Working towards the Vision Zero ambition will require the commitment of a broad range of delivery partners. We will work closely with community, education, business, not-for-profit, academic and representative groups to elevate Vision Zero among their networks, and will draw on their local knowledge, expertise and input to help shape Vision Zero into the future. Over the coming months and years, we will be engaging with organisations and representative groups right across London, because everyone has a role to play.

We will be working with groups including road safety stakeholders and the freight industry to further develop the actions in the plan that impact them, create new ones, and work in partnership to deliver them. The action plan is just the start of London’s journey towards Vision Zero.

Are there any plans for the Vision Zero campaign to go nationwide? If so, will TfL be consulting with the Government and other national bodies on this?

We have long worked with cities and regions across the UK to develop common approaches to improve public transport and safety outcomes. Road danger is an issue that affects us all and we will continue to work closely with our partners in Government, as well as other cities and regions, to develop solutions that work nationally, including 20mph speed limits in urban areas.

Further details can be found from page 102 in our Vision Zero action plan.

For more information: http://content.tfl.gov.uk/vision-zero-action-plan.pdf