Last reviewed 3 March 2021

In November 2020, Croner-i reported that Network Rail had relaunched its bridge strike campaign and revealed that Watling Street bridge on the A5 in Hinckley, Leicestershire, had been struck 25 times in the previous year (see “Operators warned about bridge strikes”).

Britain’s biggest bus operator has now announced that it will become the first in the country to invest in the national roll-out of new bridge alert technology across its entire fleet.

Stagecoach said that the £4 million project will strengthen existing measures in place to prevent bridge strikes and will build on its use of the GreenRoad driver safety and fuel efficiency system.

Using a simple traffic-light-like LED system on the dashboard, GreenRoad’s core safety system is installed on all of Stagecoach’s 8000 buses in England, Scotland and Wales.

It gives drivers instant feedback about their driving manoeuvres, encouraging smoother, safer, more fuel-efficient driving that is more comfortable for passengers.

Data from Network Rail shows that there were 1714 railway bridge strikes across the country in the 2019–20 financial year with between 40 and 50 of these related to buses.

In this context, Stagecoach has been in discussions with GreenRoad on how to extend the telematics technology to further improve safety for its 3800 double-decker buses.

The new system, which will be installed on Stagecoach buses across the country by summer 2021, will use GPS vehicle location data and mapping services to alert the driver to nearby low bridges.

If the technology determines that the bus is heading into danger, it will sound an in-cab alert, allowing a safe exit route that avoids the bridge.

Network Rail’s Chairman, Sir Peter Hendy, said: “I commend Stagecoach on taking the initiative with the roll-out of this technology and I hope to see other operators take a similar proactive approach to tackling the issue in the near future.”