• May 15th 2009 at 8:29AM
  • 43
Transport for London plans to begin a six-month trial of a new technology that will artificially limit the top speeds of taxis, buses and government fleet vehicles. Called Intelligent Speed Adaptation (ISA), the system will keep track of speed limits all over London and prevent operators from accelerating past that legal limit. The device is capable of slowing the vehicle down regardless of the driver's wishes.

Alternatively, the system can be switched into an advisory mode that simply informs the driver when the speed limit has been reached. If these tests prove successful, it's likely that the ISA technology will be made available within the next 12 months to private motorists who wish to limit the top speed of their personal vehicles. So far, there's no indication that the government will mandate the use of the ISA system.

It's hoped that a large number of drivers will choose to equip their vehicles with the ISA technology. Transport for London believes that both accidents and road congestion would be drastically reduced, which would also have the desirable effect of reducing fuel consumption and emissions.

Would you artificially limit the top speed of your car?
Yes 294 (5.7%)
No 3373 (65.4%)
Only when the kids are driving 1489 (28.9%)

[Source: Transport for London | Image: Edward Barnieh Photography]


New technology to cut traffic accidents tested

TRANSPORT for London (TfL) is to launch a six-month trial of the Intelligent Speed Adaptation (ISA) technology which aims to reduce road casualties and help drivers avoid speeding penalties.

As part of the trial, which starts this summer, a London bus will be fitted with ISA.

The TfL Road Safety Unit is also keen to trial the technology in a licensed taxi, alongside 20 TfL vehicles driven by road engineers, traffic managers and highway inspectors.

The intelligent technology allows drivers to select an option whereby acceleration is stopped automatically at the speed limit specific to any road within the M25.

The unit can be disabled at the touch of a button, at which point it reverts to an advisory status where the current, legal speed limit is simply displayed as a driver aid.

There is also a complete override switch which disables the system entirely.

The practical uses of the technology will be tested during the trial, after which a report will be submitted to the Mayor of London.

The technology will then be made available to external organisations.

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.

It is estimated that if two thirds of London drivers use the ISA system, the number of road casualties in the capital could be reduced by 10 per cent.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      No no no! I don't ever want the car thinking on my behalf. Hasn't anyone seen I, Robot? The car THINKS it's doing the right thing by saving you from yourself, pretty soon it's got you hostage in your own home and Will Smith is getting chased in a future car and getting punched in the face by evil robots. I've seen it happen a thousand times.
        • 6 Years Ago
        ESC, ABS, and other things of the sort assist you in doing what you need to be doing to prevent you from losing control of the car. Lane departure prevention, this speed regular, etc. will actually tell you "No" if you try to do something that you need to do. That's where I draw the line. If there's a pile of bricks laying in my lane, I want to be able to swerve in to the lane next to me to avoid hitting it if need be and lane departure prevention will fight against me. The same goes for this, if there is an exploding gas truck behind me or I'm getting chased by a gang of rabid cheetahs, I want to be able to get away without my car fighting against me. When the control and thinking is shifted from my power to the car's power is where the line is drawn for me. Just my opinion.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The car already does think on your behalf (eg; ESC, ABS). And usually it does a better job than most people who have a license.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Wow! Talk about Big Brother! How long will it before they extend that system to all UK drivers! The people there are just letting it happen to. What other things are you going to let your government monitor and regulate for you?
        • 6 Years Ago
        What makes you think it'll extend to UK private motorists, other than the usual American propensity for negativity and bashing other countries?

        This scheme is proposed only for public transit and service vehicles within London - and it makes sense in UK cities. It maintains traffic flow and reduces accident claims against the local authorities. Technology being used for the greater good of the transport infrastructure - nothing more sinister than that.
      • 6 Years Ago
      the system will keep track of speed limits all over London and prevent operators from accelerating past that legal limit.

      Built in GPS?
      • 6 Years Ago
      There's also something called driver education. Or does that not work in the UK?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Well it certainly does not work in USA. Let's be honest here, i am a borderline retard, even i have drivers license.

        Bottom line is, car companies have made sure that license are so easy to get that almost anyone can get them. The law requires a 5 hour test here in NY, that class lasts about 1.5 hours, a clear violation of the law, but they are never punished for that (brought to you by car manufacturers once again), the intense lobbying by D3 and others made sure that streets are filled with "drivers" who can not flip a burger properly. You do not have to drive on a highway even ONCE to get D License. Not once.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Automakers could stop putting in signal lights for new cars in the US and I swear maybe 20 people, including myself, would notice.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "Bottom line is, car companies have made sure that license are so easy to get that almost anyone can get them. "

        Then how do you explain all states going to more strict licencing procedurers? Ineffective auto lobbying?

        You have no clue what you're talking about.
      • 6 Years Ago
      You can't provide a free flow of traffic if everyone is forced to go the same speed unless you remove all stopsigns and traffic lights and then build long on and off ramps at every intersection. All you will end up with is gridlock.

      Rolling bottlenecks are caused by a slow driver, a traffic light, or a person turning left on a two way street. From overhead views you can watch a wave of traffic move back from a single person hitting their brakes.

      There are many situations where quick acceleration is needed to avoid an accident. Is it better to go above the speed limit to avoid an accident or add to it?

      The highways should have tiered speed limits. On a three lane highway the right lane should be 60mph, the center 70mph, and the left lane 80mph. That would make sense and allow faster drivers to move along.

      What causes congestion is the number of cars in any given area, not speed. This is also what causes the majority of accidents. Having higher speed limits allows more cars to exit any given area in less time thereby reducing congestion.

      The only argument that can be made for oppressive traffic laws is that they increase revenue to the state. I am sorry but anyone that favors increased traffic legislation to increase safety is misguided at least and a total fool at most.

      The real reason the UK wants this is it will increase congestion and allow them to collect more congestion charge fees. Nothing traffic related is actually done for increased safety, that is the excuse. Traffic laws are enforced to raise money, period.

      • 6 Years Ago
      If anybody remembers the movie, Minority Report, among all of the other daily tech interactions was a system that regulated vehicle system on their "highway" systems.

      If this type of system was used even on some of the medium-sized cities it may work to prevent major traffic jams. Most traffic jams are caused by speeding up & slowing down within the normal flow of traffic causing moving bottlenecks.
      • 6 Years Ago
      It's questionable how many deaths are actually due to speeding. The biggest issue is probably driver inattention or incompetence. The biggest improvement to safety, at least here in the US, would be to have serious, genuine driver's training. We can't honestly say we have that. It's basically pay a fee for a license and hop in your car.

      As for the technology for what they are trying to attempt here, shouldn't be anything complex. Could just use GPS with downloadable maps that include speed limits. What we really need is for technology that would force drivers to use their turn signals for lane changes as well as full turns and a forcing of drivers to not cruise in the fast lane. But I don't see speeding, in and of itself, as the biggest safety threat.

      • 6 Years Ago
      This plan cannot possibly work! Lawyers will have a field day. Believe it or not, it'll hinder someone's ability to avoid an accident and result in a serious payday for somebody!

      • 6 Years Ago
      Only a matter of time before they make it mandatory for all drivers. I bet it's mandatory on all vehicles by 2015 in the UK.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Nanny State!
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'd actually love to see this go through...in hopes that people will finally understand that lowering the speed of vehicles does not prevent accidents. But, I don't think it will ever happen here...speeding tickets are too much of a revenue stream.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Computer controled speed regulation will never happen here.

      Too much lost ticket revenue.

      Americans will always be allowed to speed. And technology will become better and better to rack up the fines.
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