Tideway EPIC

London’s £4.2bn Tideway project has rolled out an immersive driver training programme to boost safety around vulnerable road users.

Using live drama, film and classroom elements, it aims to challenge the traditional training approach to equipping HGV drivers with the skills they need to protect vulnerable road users and tackle unsafe behaviour.

The EPIC Logistics safety course was developed in tandem with Active Training Team (ATT) and offers a new approach to operators wishing to satisfy the requirements of FORS Silver S5 requirements for work-related road risk.

Until its rollout, Tideway identified that the only courses available for drivers to satisfy the FORS requirement have been Safe Urban Driving (SUD) or FORS-equivalent training including ‘on-cycle’ elements for drivers to experience life in the saddle.

Whilst SUD gives drivers a cyclist’s appreciation of the road, Tideway said EPIC Logistics addresses broader causes and consequences of unsafe behaviour and road risk.

The immersive approach also helps avoid any potential resistance from delegates (those who cannot or will not ride a bicycle) or weather conditions that might hamper the practical element of SUD.

“When launched in 2011, SUD fully challenged the dominant classroom style of training and originally delivered a novel way to give drivers the chance to get on a bicycle and view the road from a totally different perspective,” said Gordon Sutherland, traffic and road logistics manager at Tideway.

“We’re now almost a decade on and Tideway’s approach gives delegates an entirely new angle on road safety through experiential insights into contributory factors, organisational cultures and the confidence and skills to challenge actions and individuals.”

How does it work?

EPIC Logistics uses realistic live drama, film and advanced multimedia technology, with delegates fully engaged throughout the day’s course in a "hard-hitting, emotive journey", according to Tideway.

Delivered in several site-specific zones, a real-world scenario unfolds, with delegates experiencing behaviours that trigger stress, anxiety, pressure to act and taking procedural shortcuts that ultimately result in a fatal collision with a cyclist.

Delegates also experience some professional and personal consequences of the event.

The immersive experience is combined with technical ‘driver professionalism’ workshops and practical techniques to develop drivers’ confidence in dealing with unsafe behaviours.

You can view footage of the the training via ATT's website.

Sutherland said: “We’re extremely proud of our course, however our enthusiasm is matched by irrefutable evidence: to date since its launch we’ve trained over 1,000 delegates on more than 70 courses and we believe we will train up to 4,000 drivers during Tideway’s lifecycle (by 2024).

“There have been over 230,000 HGV movements and over 5 million vehicle kilometres travelled, with zero road traffic collisions involving a project-related vehicle or driver.”

Delegate feedback has also been extremely positive, he added: 93% strongly agree or agree that ‘today has made me more confident in challenging unsafe behaviour’; 100% strongly agree or agree that the style of workshop was effective; and 100% will apply what they have learned at work.

“We’re proud to have been able to influence change in the world of professional driver training and to leave behind a safety legacy for when construction of the tunnel is complete,” said Sutherland.

Tideway is a £4.2bn scheme to provide a major new sewage system urgently needed to protect the tidal River Thames from pollution.

To clean up one of the world’s most iconic rivers, the solution is a new 25-kilometre, 7.2-metre-wide interception, storage and transfer tunnel running up to 66 metres below the river. Approximately 6,000 HGV logistics professionals will work on Tideway.