These will transmit signals to in-vehicle units to provide real time traffic information to drivers via a dashboard display. In addition, roadside beacons will enable two-way communication between cars, buses and control centres, and plans are afoot to investigate on-board computers which will enable cars to communicate with each other so they can travel at constant speeds safe distances apart.
Much of the new information will come from the new Regional Traffic Control Centres, which will monitor traffic flow via closed circuit television systems on every link and junction of trunk roads, via road sensors, and via information providers such as Trafficmaster and AA Roadwatch.
The unveiling of the project coincided with the launch of the new role of the Highways Agency - first announced in the transport white paper - by roads minister Lord Whitty. This will see the agency become responsible for 70% of the UK's road network, with the remaining 30% handed to local authorities, following agreement.