Fleet News

Fleets to play vital role in reducing road congestion

FLEET managers will be key players in bringing in technology to reduce congestion on the roads over the next 10 years. The Government is backing new developments to give drivers the latest information on road conditions, improving warnings and understanding the reasons behind congestion.

Operators will be at the forefront of bringing congestion-busting technology into the car market, according to Transport Minister Keith Hill. He said: 'We expect businesses will lead the field in demanding that new congestion-busting technology be incorporated into their cars and as production increases, we expect prices to fall, which will benefit everybody.' At the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL), Berkshire, studies are taking place into how the Government's £180billion investment strategy can help deliver an improved transport network by 2010.

A trial of new warning signs developed at TRL, which will be able to display symbols as well as text, will begin on sections of the M4 towards the end of this year. The signs, called MS4, will improve on the current models which show just two rows of LED text, by displaying text below a triangular warning sign using or other diagram using a combination of red and white LEDs. They can also work in conjunction with in-car screens which will either display the warning simultaneously when approaching the sign or store less urgent warnings to be viewed at the driver's convenience. A long-term aim is to include voice messages at the same time.

TRL is also looking at ways of developing reliable journey time estimates by conducting trials using tracking systems, wider use of Motorway Traffic Viewer - as found on the busiest sections of the M25 - to regulate speed limits and monitor traffic flow, and improvements to satellite navigation systems offering better and more accurate coverage. Almost 600 test users selected from AA and RAC members, Volvo customers and Highways Agency staff experienced the service for more than nine months in a geographic area bounded by Dover, Bristol, Leeds and Liverpool.

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