Seeing the light

By: David Goeldner

Community consultation has led to a ‘win’ with bureaucracy over destination lights

Seeing the light
White route destination numbers at the rear of buses are now ‘legal’

The addition of a clause to an Australian Design Rule (ADR) standard to allow white lights at the rear of buses has been hailed as a win for common sense.

Delegates at this week’s Bus Industry Confederation Suppliers Summit were given the news that buses displaying white light route numbers at the rear of the vehicle were now legal, following recent lobbying of the Federal Government.

Until now, rearward facing white lights had been deemed ‘illegal’ as white lights pointing rearwards are construed to be used as the function of headlights, thereby potentially distracting drivers following behind, particularly at night.

But following community consultation with vision impaired groups, including Vision Australia, public transport users overwhelmingly called for brighter lights at the rear of buses, with white lights the preferred option, as is the standard adopted across the United States.

Bus Industry Confederation Technical Manager Luke Hardy recently received advice from the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development saying a clause had now been added to the relevant design rule making white lights ‘legal’.

The advice says it is "preferable to use high contrast, white-on-black LED illuminated destination and route number signs due to improved visual performance that this configuration of sign can give to the visually impaired."

The advice says that while there has been an addition of white LED lights to the relevant rule ADR 13/00, it does not mean the rule has fundamentally changed.

The Department advises that bus builders still need to apply for permission to make the change through the bus Identification Plate Approval (IPA) compliance process.

The move towards adding the clause is seen as a ‘win’ for the supplier, with Mobitech Managing Director Bob Barwick spearheading the change following a meeting of affected public transport users who gathered in Sydney late last year to discuss LED destination signage options.

At the time, Barwick said community consultation could lead to ‘getting it right’, so that visually impaired public transport users could see destination signs more clearly.

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