From July 2019 a new regulation has come into force making it compulsory for all new types of electric and hybrid vehicles in the European Union to be equipped with an Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System (AVAS). The regulation becomes mandatory for all new ‘quiet’ vehicles after September 2021.
The new regulation comes after concerns were raised regarding the safety of these quiet vehicles for blind and partially sighted persons, as well as cyclists, who are at an increased risk of accident due to the silent nature of electric and hybrid electric vehicles.
A study by the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Incident Rates of Pedestrian and Bicyclist Crashes by Hybrid Electric Passenger Vehicles: An Update, concluded that the largest risk increase is seen in low-speed manoeuvers. When vehicles were turning, stopping, slowing down or backing up, the odds of a hybrid electric vehicle being involved in collusion with a pedestrian was 1.66 times the odds of an internal combustion engine being involved in a similar crash.
Working with Transport for London (TfL), Forman Vehicle Services developed an AVAS system for electric and hybrid electric buses and coaches which can be programmed with either a pre-set sound, the TfL-developed AVAS sound or any conforming sound supplied. TfL will be trialing their sound on the 100 bus route from January, with more trial routes to be added throughout the year. The TfL-developed sound is part of the Bus Safety Standard that aims to ensure there are no serious injuries or deaths on London’s roads by 2041.
We are committed to ensuring the safest buses are driven on London’s roads and pleased to announce this latest development with the Bus Safety Standard as we work towards Vision Zero.
Director of Bus Operations at TfL
The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association have keenly supported the development of the AV solution for quiet buses. We look forward to trialling the system on an active route in situ in the capital during January.
Engagement Officer at Guide Dogs UK
The Forman V-AVAS emits a sound at low speed, which is when electric and hybrid vehicles are significantly quieter than vehicles with an internal combustion engine. From 0 to 20 km/h the system will emit a sound with tone and pitch changes correlating to speed. These changes will artificially simulate the changes that would be heard when a traditional combustion engine vehicle accelerates and decelerates, and will allow road users to identify the location, direction and speed of quiet vehicles.
For more information on the new AVAS regulation, you can read the full regulatory document here.