London trams to monitor driver fatigue

August 9 2017   | Region: London

London trams to monitor driver fatigue
Transport for London has pledged to retrofit technology capable of detecting whether drivers are falling asleep while operating trams on the Croydon Tramlink network by the autumn. This follows last November’s fatal derailment near Sandilands Junction.
 
The ‘in cab vigilance system’ is currently being trialled and will alert drivers immediately if it identifies the signs of distraction or fatigue. The system will also be able to apply brakes if no driver activity is detected for a period.
 
Work on another alert system for monitoring and managing tram speed is also under way. This latest update from TfL comes after the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB), which is still investigating last year’s incident near Sandilands Junction, issued a draft set of key recommendation areas to UK tram operators.
 
These include provision of active tram protection to prevent serious accidents due to excessive speed at high risk locations, and research into active means of detecting the attention state of drivers and intervening in the event of inattention.
 
It also proposes setting up an industry body to aid more effective cooperation between UK tramway owners and operators on matters related to safety performance and the development of common standards.
 
The RAIB’s upcoming final report is expected to be published before the anniversary of the incident, which saw a tram overturn on a bend causing the death of seven people. The driver’s failure to apply emergency braking indicates that he had lost awareness as he was approaching the bend.
 
Responding to the RAIB’s latest recommendations, London’s transport commissioner Mike Brown commented: “Our thoughts remain with all those affected by the tragic tram derailment and we continue to do all we can to offer our support.
 
“Since the incident we have introduced a number of additional safety measures to the tram network, including additional speed restrictions, enhanced speed monitoring, new signage for drivers and an upgrade of the CCTV recording system.”
 
He added: “We continue to work with the wider tram industry on these improvements and will consider any further measures that could be introduced to improve safety. We also continue to work with the RAIB and will take on board all recommendations from this and the other investigations that are underway.”
 
♦ TfL’s planned extension of the London Overground to Barking Riverside has been given the green light by the Government. Construction of the 4.5km extension of the Gospel Oak to Barking Line is due to start next summer.
 
(Photo: TfL)

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