Stagecoach carries out first trials of new bridge alert technology

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New bridge alert technology has been successfully trialled by Stagecoach on its buses in Cambridge.

The new technology will now be installed on around 4,000 double-decker buses and high coaches across England, Scotland and Wales as part of a £4m investment.

Stagecoach is the first bus operator in the country to invest in the national roll-out of the new technology, which has been developed to strengthen existing safety measures in place to prevent bridge strikes.

The intelligent GreenRoad system uses GPS vehicle location data and mapping services to alert bus drivers 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.

Training and briefing is now getting underway for Stagecoach’s engineers and drivers to help them install and use the new software. Around 18,000 low bridges across the UK are being mapped into the new system in advance of the full roll-out of the technology planned by late summer 2021.

Data published by Network Rail shows that there were 1714 railway bridge strikes across the country in the 2019-20 financial year. Most of these incidents involved heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), with between 40 and 50 a year related to buses.

Sam Greer, engineering director at Stagecoach, said: “Our major investment in this cutting-edge new technology is a clear demonstration of us going one step further to deliver an industry-leading initiative to further enhance the safety systems we have in place.

“We are very pleased with the successful trial in Cambridge, which has been welcomed by the senior traffic commissioner in the East of England, and we will now move ahead with the full roll out across all of our double-decker buses and high coaches.”

Earlier this year, Stagecoach announced investment in new technology to help plan future bus networks to match changes in how people travel coming out of the Covid-19 pandemic. New digital systems have also been introduced to manage the maintenance of its bus fleet, and it has delivered one of Britain’s biggest transit contactless programmes.

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