April is the first month of the local government body’s 2017 financial year.
That requirement reference comes before even the first consultation on TfL’s proposed standard to improve heavy goods vehicle sight lines to improve the safety of cyclists and pedestrians ends, on 18 April (https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/roads/direct-visi...).
It also comes before two futher consultations planned for the next 12 months: a ‘full policy consultation on final proposals’ in autumn 2017 and ‘statutory consultation on the appropriate regulatory measure’ in spring 2018.
At the event, Transport for London programme manager Hanna White explained the situation to Transport Engineer.
She said: “We will write in the direct vision standard and then give our suppliers enough time to comply with that to make sure that they can work with their manufacturers to become compliant before the 2020 ban.
“So essentially if you work for TfL, you have to be compliant sooner than you would do London-wide.”
When asked how suppliers could comply at such an early stage, before the rating criteria currently being developed by Loughborough University have even been released,
White replied: “We’re developing a load of guidance, both internally for TfL and also for our suppliers as well. That’s all happening now; but there’s no expectation for people to become compliant until we’ve published the ratings for the vehicles.
The timescales are aligned with when the vehicle ratings will be available.”
(She added that publication of ratings will start in May and continue into the summer for Euro VI vehicles, and for Euro V and IV vehicles in the autumn).
Launched in September, the Direct Vision plan would see heavy goods vehicles’ vision rated, and the worst designs, allocated zero out of five stars, would be banned from the capital in 2020. Four years later, one- and two-star designs would also be prohibited.
Mitigating the risk posed by the blind spot at the front near side corner and near side flank of a heavy goods vehicle by adding so-called indirect vision systems such as mirrors, sensors and cameras do not necessarily solve the problem, White argued in a presentation at the event.
First, although these visual aids cam be useful, they depend on being set accurately, can distort reality, or can transmit in insufficient resolution to see clearly, making them hard to interpret.
Second, adding the responsibility of monitoring the cameras can be difficult for drivers that are also required to keep their eyes on the road.
Third, testing from a Leeds University driving simulator found that indirect vision responses were slower than direct vision.
White added that the upcoming consultations will allow industry to have a say in the matter, that the standard was “not a done deal” and that there is time remaining for input into the rulemaking process.
At the conference, Dr Joanne Edwards, AECOM associate, presented research carried out for TfL surveying the ground conditions of many tipping sites around London.
They found that a majority were compatible with the reduced ground clearances imposed by the generally lower direct vision cabs.
The need for higher ground clearance is said to be a primary reason that offroad style N3G chassis design lorries are specified. That report is available (https://is.gd/yufoja); a beta site directory was also developed.
Tipping aprons and ground stabilisation were two means of amelioration proposed for tipping sites incompatible with low-entry vehicles.