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ETSC advocates the use of ISA

30 October 2015

For more than ten years, the European Transport Safety Council has been advocating the benefits of Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA), a driver assistance system that a 2014 Norwegian study found to be the ‘most effective’ in saving lives. We are optimistic that 2016 could prove to be a turning point in wide adoption of the technology.

This system uses a speed sign-recognition video camera and/or GPS-linked speed limit data to advise drivers of the current speed limit; the most advanced systems can automatically limit the speed of the vehicle as needed (though the driver is still able to override the system). The first vehicles with this kind of ISA system factory fitted started appearing on the market this year – helped in part by Euro NCAP’s decision to reward extra points for vehicles that include ISA.

The technology has also been boosted by the increasing use of hardware on vehicles such as GPS, front facing cameras and manual speed limiting systems which, effectively, can just be reprogrammed to add intelligent speed assistance as an option.

The importance of the adoption of the technology cannot be underestimated. ISA is expected to reduce collisions by 30% and deaths by 20%. But waiting for the technology to trickle down from premium cars to the mass market, would take years longer than a regulatory approach.

In London 47 buses covering two routes will be fitted with ISA technology as part of the second major trial of the system in the UK capital, and the move has been welcomed by pedestrian campaigners.

Leon Daniels, Managing Director of Surface Transport at Transport for London, said:

‘Intelligent Speed Adaptation improves road safety by reducing incidences of speeding for all road users, allowing drivers to focus on looking out for potential issues on the road rather than checking their speed limit. If this trial confirms that this technology could be beneficial to the safety of London’s roads, it could be introduced across our bus fleet.’