Hi-tech warning on traffic congestion
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by Ian Wylie • Road-builders have warned the Government not to rely on transport technology as a substitute for building roads.
The British Roads Federation (BRF) is responding to Roads Minister Steven Norris's claim that technology could cope with extra traffic without building new roads and was the key to getting the most out of the existing transport system.
Much of this 'telematics' technology concentrates on improving the flow of information to vehicle drivers and fleet operators. Among the research projects being funded by the Department of Transport and other EU states are traffic jam detectors, variable message signs on motorways to divert traffic from accidents, and invehicle technology which would alert drivers when another vehicle gets too close or to control speed in hazardous conditions.
Despite calling for more road building, the Freight Transport Association shares the minister's vision: "Teletnatics will transform road transport over the next decade in the same way that computers have transformed the office environment." says FTA deputy director-general Richard Turner. "We have to get every ounce of capacity out of every road that we've got and telematics will help us squeeze another 10 or 20% out of our existing network."
But the BRF says: "Road technology has to work alongside road-building."