Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/08/01/motorways_message_trial/

Motorways chosen for message trial

M5 and M6 get real-time journey info

By Kablenet

Posted in Policy, 1st August 2006 11:17 GMT

Drivers on parts of the M5 and M6 will be the first to receive real time information on the expected lengths of their journeys

The Highways Agency released details of the trial, which it first announced two weeks earlier, on 31 July.

About 160 miles of road will be covered, taking in sections between Stoke and Bristol on the M5 and Stoke and the M1 junction on the M6. Over 200,000 vehicles per day use the routes.

Electronic roadside signs at major junctions on the two motorways will display the latest travel time and delay information from the National Traffic Control Centre. The messages will tell drivers the expected travel time to specific junctions on the motorway and help them make informed decisions on their journeys.

The system will use software that combines historical traffic data with information from automatic number plate recognition cameras. It automatically recalculates the projected travel times every five minutes and updates the display.

If an incident such as a road accident causes delays on the motorway above a certain threshold, the message will automatically switch from the travel time message to show the estimated delay.

Minister for roads Dr Stephen Ladyman said: "Through the Highways Agency, we are investing in new services to help drivers to plan their journeys. These new messages are part of a range of information services so drivers can find out about traffic conditions on their route both before they set out and during their journey.

"Displaying journey times on our electronic signs will help them to do that. It will help them plan and consider options such as changing their route or taking a break if there are traffic delays ahead of them. They'll also have greater certainty about the time it will take to get to their destinations."

Ladyman added that the agency will study feedback from drivers before making any decisions on whether to extend the service to other parts of the motorway network.

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

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