A new Government initiative has been unveiled which aims to save motorists lots of unnecessary wasted journey time. ‘Street Manager’ will be a new real-time service mapping current and ongoing traffic jams allowing motorists to plan their journeys and avoid disruption.
The cost of the new service doesn’t come cheap at £10 million, but it is estimated delays and road problems have a real-world cost of billions of pounds annually in lost working time or delays in transporting goods – a significant loss to both business and industry, as well as a major inconvenience!
The Government’s current system of road traffic alerting has become significantly outdated, slow, and cannot provide the instant data that motorists require and depend on. Meaning every road user is at risk of getting caught up in unexpected journey delays.
Importantly, the new data will be available free of charge for app developers and services such as Google to use in their own mapping software, so drivers will have access to the latest data in their favourite mobile applications or navigation system. This should allow drivers to accurately find the best route for their journey and avoid any trouble hot spots or reported delays.
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In conjunction with the new real-time monitoring, the Government has also given councils the power to penalise companies who carry out roadworks and road maintenance in peak driving hours. While penalties of around £2,500 per day are not significant to huge organisations, they may well be a deterrent to roadwork carried out in rush hour and this should also help to ease traffic problems. The scale of roadworks undertaken annually is enormous, estimated at over 2.5 million individual pieces of work nationwide, and is a significant cost to the economy. Tellingly, the same stretch of road or highway can often be dug up multiple times by different utility companies and service providers, so better planning and organisation is required to coordinate such activities.
On average, motorists are stuck in traffic jams for an average of 31 hours per year, with many frequent drivers or those using busy routes or in the motor trade penalised far more. Any improvement in traffic data and real-time monitoring of roadworks and delays should offer significant benefit. With insurance policy and petrol costs continuing to rise, this new application may offer suffering motorists a little relief. Drivers of new and used cars already benefit from great navigation systems but any improvements made to our journey time will be welcomed.