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UK Government unveils digital revolution for drivers: Satnavs to receive real-time traffic updates

Updated: Jan 15

In a landmark move set to transform the UK's driving experience, Roads Minister Guy Opperman is poised to announce the first series of initiatives under the Government's ambitious Plan for Drivers.

Central to the developments is the digitisation of Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs), a decision that is likely to enhance the accuracy of satellite navigation systems across the country.

Until now, TROs (which govern short-term traffic changes like temporary speed limits or road closures) have not been consistently updated in digital formats, leading to gaps in the information provided to drivers through satnav systems. This has often resulted in confusion and inefficiency on the roads. However, the new mandate from the Government will ensure that crucial data, including the locations of parking spaces, will be readily accessible, guaranteeing drivers the most up-to-date and reliable information for their journeys.

Traffic authorities will be required to submit their TROs to a newly established digital platform. This data will then be made available online, free of charge, ensuring universal access to vital travel information. This initiative not only promises a smoother and safer driving experience for today's road users but also lays the groundwork for the future integration of autonomous vehicles on British roads. The Automated Vehicles Bill, currently under parliamentary review, includes a clause specifically aimed at reinforcing this commitment.

This digital transformation is part of a broader strategy by the Government, which includes an unprecedented funding increase for local road improvements. A total of £8.3 billion, redirected from HS2 funding, is set to resurface over 5,000 miles of roads in England. This demonstrates the Government's commitment to improving travel conditions for a wider range of the population, more efficiently and swiftly.

Furthermore, significant investments have been earmarked for regional development, with every penny of the HS2 funds allocated to the Northern and Midlands legs to be reinvested locally. The £6.5 billion saved from the revised approach at Euston will be distributed across other regions in the country, underscoring the Government's balanced approach to national infrastructure development.

The comprehensive Plan for Drivers, encompassing the digitisation of TROs and other measures, will be officially unveiled by Minister Opperman during his visit to a highway depot in Kent on Monday. This visit will also provide an opportunity for the Minister to engage directly with key stakeholders and discuss the broader implications of these initiatives.

Guy Opperman said: “This Government is on the side of drivers, which is why we’re making travelling by road much easier. Everyone knows the frustrations of being sent down a closed road by your sat-nav, so by going digital with our traffic information, we’re making sure that drivers have the very latest travel information to rely on.

“This is part of our first package of measures from our Plan for Drivers to be set out tomorrow, coming after our record £8.3 billion investment to resurface local roads – the biggest ever increase in funding for local road improvements.”


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