• May 15th 2009 at 8:29AM
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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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