A Mobile App released by the Highways Agency earlier this month became one of the most popular at the Apple App Store just a week after release.
The download is free and takes data from the Agency’s National Traffic Control Centre to provide live updates of traffic flow on England’s motorways and major A roads.
It also identifies the user's current location, gives a breakdown of any planned roadworks, displays live traffic updates and tunes into the Highways Agency's digital radio station Traffic Radio.
The Highways Agency provides data gathered by thousands of vehicle sensors buried in the road surface, CCTV cameras and reports from its own patrols. This information is then fed to web sites, phone lines, the media and overhead signs on the motorways themselves.
More than 50,000 people have downloaded the app so far, making it the fourth most popular download overall.
“By making our information freely available it will be much easier for people to plan their journeys,” said Highways Agency director of traffic management Simon Sheldon-Wilson. “Checking a route ahead of travel can help us all cut congestion, save fuel and reduce carbon emissions.”
People who do not have an iPhone can also get the latest updates using the Highways Agency’s mobile web site, which was launched last year.
"The mobile version of the Agency web site is proving to be one of the most popular ways of accessing our live traffic data,” adds Simon Sheldon-Wilson. “We are clear you should never use a mobile phone while driving, but we also encourage drivers to take frequent breaks and that is an ideal time to check the road ahead."
The Highways Agency web site itself shows where England's motorways and major A roads are flowing freely, including incident reports, traffic speeds and the view from CCTV cameras. There are also options for people to download widgets, a desktop ticker and RSS feeds.
The Agency does not currently use mobile phone location data to monitor traffic flow and said it "will only do so after full consideration of any concerns about privacy and the effectiveness of the technology".