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Hands-free traffic app makes Highways Agency data available to road users ready for summer

HIGHWAYS AGENCY News Release issued by COI News Distribution Service on 02 August 2012

The Highways Agency has reached an agreement to feed up-to-date traffic information from England's motorways and major A roads into a new hands-free app for smartphones.

The Highways Agency, which manages the 4,300-mile strategic road network in England, collects data on traffic flows from sophisticated monitoring equipment built into the road surface, backed up by CCTV and other sources.

This data, which is already provided to drivers through the Agency's own channels, will be fed to developer Information Logistics for its 'Hands Free Traffic Talker England' app. The app is available for iPhones and Android phones and has been released to coincide with the summer holiday season.

Highways Agency director for traffic management Simon Sheldon-Wilson said:

"Our collaboration with Information Logistics is a good example of public and private sectors working together to assist road users by providing real time traffic news and constant updates about incidents on the network.

"We want to allow road users to safely access live and targeted traffic information when they need it. The availability of smartphones provides a way to do just that and the introduction of this hands-free app is really exciting, being both iPhone and Android compatible.

"The Highways Agency works to make its information as widely available as possible. We already have traffic information sharing agreements with organisations such as GoogleMaps™, TomTom and the BBC and we look forward to working with other partners in the future".

The Highways Agency is an established traffic information provider, with its own live traffic updates available on a variety of digital platforms such as its own and third party websites, as well as feeding data to mobiles, its own iPhone app, information screens in motorway service and on Twitter.

The Highways Agency provides its traffic information to Information Logistics in a Datex II format, which it helped develop as a European standard specifically for road data information exchange. The Agency data provides real-time traffic information and predictions based on past conditions, helping road users to plan their journeys to avoid congestion.

The data, provided by the Agency's National Traffic Operations Centre in Birmingham, is also used to populate the Highways Agency's own website www.highways.gov.uk/traffic. Using this site, drivers can see current and predicted driving conditions, view what is currently being displayed on electronic motorway signs and even tell the average traffic speed between any two junctions on the motorway network.

Notes to Editors

1. The Highways Agency is an executive agency of the Department for Transport. We manage, maintain and improve England's motorways and other strategic roads on behalf of the Secretary of State. 2. The app is available to the public in Beta version so that members of the public can provide feedback and comments on how it can be further improved. 3. Real-time traffic information for England's motorways and other strategic roads is available: - From the web at www.highways.gov.uk/traffic or www.highways.gov.uk/mobile if using a phone or mobile device. - By phone from the Highways Agency Information Line on 0300 123 5000 at any time. (Calls to 0300 numbers will cost no more than 5p per minute from a standard BT residential landline. Call charges from other landlines and mobile networks may vary, but will be no more than a standard geographic call and will be included in all inclusive minutes and discount schemes). Make sure it's safe and legal before you call. Before using any mobile, find a safe place to park. Never stop on the hard shoulder of a motorway except in an emergency. - On an iPhone app which will automatically select the region you are in. Free to download from the iTunes store or search for Highways Agency on your device.- From Twitter - there are eight regional feeds with live traffic information. For the full index visit www.highways.gov.uk/twitter. 4. Plan your journey - Get Ahead of the Games: The majority of the London 2012 sporting venues are located in and around London, but events are also happening in other parts of the country. You can find out what is happening on each day of the Games, and how your journey could be affected by visiting www.getaheadofthegames.com

Contacts:

Mik Barton.
Phone: 075 5445 8909
mik.barton@highways.gsi.gov.uk