Headlines: January 8th, 2003

Drivers in Wales can now benefit from a unique computer-based service to alert them to potential problems on the road. Traffic-Wales uses the latest technology to control and manage the trunk road and motorway network.The service, which is seen as a major part of the Welsh Assembly Government’s Intelligent Transport System, has been launched by the Minister for Environment Sue Essex.

It means motorists can register for the Assembly’s new auto-notification system at www.traffic-wales.com  to receive free alerts, by e-mail or mobile phone. They complete a personal profile based on which sections of the M4 they will use and at what times of day. Once they have registered, users will receive automatic notification of accidents, delays and speed restrictions which might affect their journeys.

The Minister urged motorists to register for the scheme but stressed the dangers of using mobile phones while driving. “The service is designed to advise drivers of problems before they set off on their journeys,” she said. “Once on the road, electronic road signs will keep drivers informed of any developments.”

Traffic-Wales is based on two control centres using their extensive CCTV coverage to monitor the entire trunk road network, act on incidents, and activate electronic road signs. Information about accidents, delays, and congestion will then be relayed to the emergency services, the media and rescue services and constantly refreshed images of much of the road network will be shown on a members-only section of the Traffic-Wales website.

The CCTV images are converted into a digital format which enables the web-based system to be refreshed up to once every one eighth of a second giving authorised users the chance to see images of the current road status in a semi real-time format from their computers.