STAGECOACH, Britain’s biggest bus operator, yesterday announced it will become the first bus operator in the country to invest in the national roll-out of new bridge alert technology across its fleet.
The £4m project will strengthen existing measures in place to prevent bridge strikes and build on Stagecoach’s industry-leading use of the GreenRoad driver safety and fuel efficiency system which is installed on all of the company’s 8,000 buses.
Stagecoach has been in discussions with GreenRoad over the past eight months on how to further improve safety for its fleet which includes 3,800 double-deckers.
Data from Network Rail shows that there were 1,714 railway bridge strikes across the country in the 2019-20 financial year. Most of these incidents involve heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), with between 40 and 50 a year related to buses.
As well as the potential for serious injuries, bridge strikes have significant financial and other costs for the country. On average, a single bridge strike costs more than £6,000 and in 2019-20 these incidents resulted in more than 7,800 hours of delays for rail passengers alone.
The intelligent GreenRoad system will use GPS vehicle location data and mapping services to alert the driver to nearby low bridges.
If the technology determines that the bus is heading towards a low bridge, it will sound an in-cab alert, allowing a safe exit route that avoids the bridge.
Following a 16-week software development phase, the technology and associated speakers will be installed on Stagecoach buses across the country by summer 2021.