Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Annex 4


  DTLR has funded research on External Vehicle Speed Control (EVSC) that is mainly concerned with the technical aspects of controlling vehicle speed. The full report is available from the DTLR website:

  This project was funded by the former DETR and resulted in the current research on Intelligent Speed Adaptation (ISA), another name for EVSC, as reported to the Committee in the DTLR Memorandum. Whilst the Department has funded these research projects as part of its vehicle safety research programme, there is no policy on implementation of any such systems. It will be for vehicle manufacturers to provide the technology in response to public demand.

  Speed limiting technology is already in use. Large commercial vehicles and coaches have been limited to their permitted maximum speeds for several years. More recent developments mean that technologies exist for individual vehicles to be fitted with equipment that could limit the maximum speed to any selected value whether automatically or manually. The technology required is a means of controlling the speed of the engine (and consequently the vehicle), and electronic engine management, now common on most new vehicles, enables this. Additionally braking intervention can be introduced through systems such as electronic brake control and antilock braking, also common on many vehicles, and this forms part of the overall system that speed control might require. Knowing where the vehicle is relative to posted speed limits is also necessary and this could be achieved through GPS (satellite positioning systems); the location capabilities and messaging capabilities of mobile phone technology; and navigation systems that use digital maps. The existence of these technologies means that it is perfectly possible for a manufacturer to offer Intelligent Speed Adaptation today.

  However, it would be more effective and more efficient, both in terms of life saving and cost, if there were agreement on common methods of implementation. Regarding the activities that would enable this the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN ECE) has introduced a performance standard for the in-vehicle equipment; there are discussions in ERTICO (a European association for the advancement of Transport Telematics) related to speed management. ISO (the International Standards Organisation) is discussing industry standards in this area. It is generally accepted that a most useful enabling activity would be the creation of a common digital map that contained speed limit information.

  However, further research is required, and now getting started, both on driver behaviour in long-term use of EVSC and on technological aspects, including communications, reliability, digital maps and vehicle control. Work at both a national and European level is needed. The UK word is funded by DTLR. The European aspect is particularly crucial for the EVSC technology, since any future standards are likely to be enacted at a European level, by for example UN ECE and CENELEC (the European electrical standards body). It is also important for the political process, since both the Commission and the European Parliament will have a role in any decision to require mandatory fitment of EVSC, or ISA as it is also called, on new vehicles.

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