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Blair's transport minister working for traffic-data firm

Ladyman-ITIS to spread across Europe

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Stephen Ladyman, the former UK transport minister, is now working as an adviser to a traffic-data company.

The MP, who stepped down from his ministerial post last year following the departure of Tony Blair but remains in Parliament, says in the Register of Members' Interests that he receives from £10,000 to £15,000 pa from ITIS Holdings plc. ITIS uses data from various sources to maintain its national traffic-flow database, which produces journey-time forecasts, blackspot updates and so on.

Examples of ITIS products include the AA Roadwatch automated telephone service and various radio traffic broadcasts. The firm also sells information to Ladyman's former ministry, the Department for Transport (DfT).

The main source of the information is ITIS' Floating Vehicle Data (FVD) system, in which various commercial vehicle fleets are fitted with tracking technology. The firm says its "probe fleets" number 50,000 in total, including more than 22,000 Eddie Stobart trucks and 16,000 National Express coaches.

ITIS is also experimenting with monitoring traffic by analysing mobile phone data in bulk, and it has developed GPS/GPRS tracking kit for use in foiling vehicle thefts.

Ladyman undertook not to conduct lobbying of the British government for one year when he stood down from the DfT, and this period will not expire until June. However, he considers himself at liberty to help ITIS deal with European and continental authorities, telling the Times that:

"I know quite a lot of the transport ministers around Europe..."

The broadsheet saw the Ladyman-ITIS* payments as a sign that UK national road-pricing is imminent. ®

*Sounds nasty.

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