Traffic News - When you need it
Setting out on a journey? Before you go, listen to Traffic Radio to hear the latest:
Brought to you by the Highways Agency and Transport for London. Traffic Radio broadcasts continuous live traffic updates 24 hours a day online (including on our mobile site) as well on DAB Digital Radio.
What is Traffic Radio?
Traffic Radio is a new regionalised traffic information service, offering news about traffic conditions on England’s motorways, trunk road network and London’s main road network, 24 hours a day, every day of the year. With information direct from the control rooms at the Highways Agency and Transport for London, Traffic Radio is updated every 10 minutes at busy times and every 20 minutes during off-peak periods.
Traffic Radio will provide:
* National traffic headlines.
* Regional traffic information, depending on where you are in the country.
* Roadworks information.
* Infomercials (for example explaining the Highways Agency Traffic Officer service, safety advice and tips about planning your journey).
The service is broadcasting on six regional streams - North West, North East, Midlands, South West, South East and London.
Who is responsible for Traffic Radio?
The service has been developed by the Highways Agency which is an executive agency of the Department for Transport that manages motorways and trunk roads in England. However, the Agency is working in partnership with Transport for London to make information available through the service about traffic conditions in London. The Agency is also speaking to partners at Traffic Scotland, Traffic Wales and DRDNI (Northern Ireland) about joining the service from April 2009. The aim is to provide a joined-up service across the country.
How can I listen to Traffic Radio?
Traffic Radio is being broadcast on local DAB Digital Radio (Digital Audio Broadcasting). and via short-term (28-day) localised FM and AM transmission during some major roadworks and special events.
Who is the service aimed at?
The service is aimed anyone planning a journey on motorways or trunk roads in England. Currently it’s primarily available to people with DAB radios, although most people with access to the internet are also able to receive it through this website.
How can it help me?
You can find out before you travel if there are any delays to your route as well as details of the latest roadworks. This information will help you make an informed decision about whihc route to take, the time they set off, whether to take the train or bus instead or whether to cancel your trip.
Why can’t the service be delivered on FM?
The FM spectrum is currently full. If an existing station were to give up a frequency, it would be extremely expensive to buy them out.
Why can’t the service be delivered on AM?
Ofcom are not currently offering any new AM licences. They cannot just gift the HA with an AM licence to the HA without a change in legislation and the spectrum is almost full. If an existing station were to switch off they may be looking to sell their national frequencies at a high cost. There is also a risk Ofcom may choose to use AM frequencies for Digital Radio Mondial (DRM) in the future - adding risk to mass procurement of AM.
How many people currently own a DAB set?
Approximately 20% of adults now own a home DAB radio. That’s 7.2 million people. This number continues to grow, with many retailers choosing to discontinue selling FM only radios.
How many vehicles currently have a DAB receiver?
Less than 1% of vehicles currently have a DAB set installed. This number is however set to increase with new ways for people to receive DAB in their vehicles becoming available. Several car manufacturers already offer DAB as a dealer fit optional extra.
What is the point in a Traffic Radio service that can’t be received by the majority of vehicles?
Drivers can receive huge benefits by planning their journeys before they set off. When they do so, they are presented with more options about delaying their journey, taking a different route, choosing to take the train or bus, or not travelling altogether. These benefits often outweigh those you can achieve by telling a motorist once they are already in their car, or just as they join the back of the queue.
Where does the information come from?
The service is produced on behalf of the Highways Agency and Transport for London by Global Traffic Network compiling information from the Agency’s National Traffic Control Centre and TfL’s London Traffic Control Centre.
Will the information be reliable and accurate?
Yes, the Highways Agency’s National Traffic Control Centre operates 24 hours every day of the year, collecting information on road and traffic conditions across 4,500 miles (7,300 km) of England’s motorways and trunk roads.
The centre continuously collects real-time information from 3,750 road sensors and 700 CCTV cameras as well as reports from the Highways Agency traffic officers, police forces, local highway authorities, contractors, leisure and entertainment venues and weather centres.
The London Traffic Control Centre (LTCC) monitors London’s main roads and junctions 24 hours a day. Traffic controllers use a network of CCTV cameras, intelligent traffic signals which measure traffic flows and information from London’s bus drivers to quickly identify traffic delays. The controllers are supported by the Metropolitan Police Area Traffic Control, which is directly linked to traffic and transport police resources on the streets. Close links with the London boroughs, utilities and event organisers mean that the LTCC recieves advance warning of roadworks and public events that may disrupt traffic.
Why only roads with no focus on Public Transport?
Traffic Radio is intended to offer quick updates on the traffic conditions on motorways and trunk roads. Information about all forms of transport would lead to lengthy broadcasts and could make it less likely that people would tune in before they travelled. Traffic Radio will provide information about major disruption on public transport, such as tube line closures as these will have an impact on road traffic.
Will the whole of England be covered by the DAB service?
Some areas will initially not receive the service because some multiplex operators are currently full to capacity and some areas are not within a licensed DAB area. The initial service will cover approximately 80% of the population of England. With the proposed DAB spectrum expansion and ever changing market, the service will become more widely available over the next two years.
How much is it all going to cost?
Traffic Radio will cost approximately £2.8 million to run across England per year.
Won’t it compete with the BBC and commercial market?
Traffic Radio will provide information not entertainment. It is only intended to be a dip-in dip-out service and will not distract listeners from their current choice of station long-term. Traffic Radio will provide strategic information, so existing traffic information services, such as radio station traffic bulletins, will continue to offer benefits to their listeners by providing localised information.
Both Ofcom and BBC (Head of Policy, Radio and Convergent Media) have been consulted and support the service. As a completely new service Traffic Radio should offer more choice to listeners. As a new DAB service, Traffic Radio will potentially increase the market share of DAB within the industry.