UK Government

Highways Agency: Traffic alerts on your phone – Highways Agency tunes into latest technology

Press Release   •   Feb 17, 2010 09:46 GMT

Travel on England’s motorways and strategic trunk roads is being made even easier thanks to new software that can be downloaded to a mobile phone.

A free iPhone app provides constant live updates from the Highways Agency’s National Traffic Control Centre - helping road users plan their journeys and avoid congestion hotspots.

It pinpoints the user’s current location, gives a breakdown of any planned roadworks, displays live traffic updates and tunes in to the Highways Agency’s own radio station which broadcasts round the clock from the National Traffic Control Centre.

Simon Sheldon-Wilson, Highways Agency director of traffic management, said:

“This new iPhone app is the latest in our range of free journey planning tools. It homes in on the user's current location to give the latest traffic news, and provides constant updates about incidents on the network.

"This sort of project is a key part of our information strategy aimed at getting traffic information out to road users where and when they need it, allowing road users to plan their journeys better, helping reduce congestion and lower emissions.

“Last year we also launched a mobile version of the Agency website, which is proving to be one of the most popular ways of accessing our live traffic data. 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"

Other services fed by the live data from the National Traffic Control Centre include
* overhead variable message signs on motorways;
* telephone information services;
* Traffic Radio on DAB digital radio and the internet;
* travel bulletins on nearly all local and national radio stations;
* Google maps; and
* more than 300 different websites run by various media organisations.

The Highways Agency website 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.

Notes to editors

1. The Highways Agency is an executive agency of the Department for Transport. We manage, maintain and improve England’s motorways and trunk roads on behalf of the Secretary of State.

2. Users can download the free Highways Agency app direct from the iTunes store by searching Highways Agency or by clicking the following link:

3. The Highways Agency collects live traffic data from technology built into its network such as CCTV and vehicle detection loops buried in the road surface, along with reports from Traffic Officer patrols, contractors and police at the scene of incidents.  The Agency does not currently use mobile phone location data to monitor traffic flow and has stated it would only do so after full consideration of any concerns about privacy and the effectiveness of the technology.

4. Real-time traffic information for England’s motorways and major A roads is available:
- From our Traffic Radio service, available on DAB digital radio and the internet at To tune into the DAB service, simply press the "scan" button on your radio. The radio will tune into all available channels and you can select the new service by scrolling through the channels until you reach "Traffic Radio".
- From the web at or if using a phone or mobile device.
Before using any mobile, find a safe place to park. Never stop on the hard shoulder of a motorway except in an emergency. Make sure it’s safe and legal before you call.
- By phone from the Highways Agency 24-hour voice activated phone service on 08700 660 115.  (Calls from BT residential landlines to 0870 numbers will cost no more than 8p per minute; call charges from other landlines and mobile networks may vary).

5. For more general information about the Highways Agency and its work, visit the Highways Agency website, or telephone the Highways Agency Information Line on 08457 50 40 30 at any time (Calls to 0845 numbers will cost no more than 4p per minute from BT residential landlines. Call charges from other landlines and mobile networks may vary).

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Issued on by the Highways Agency.  
Media enquiries out of hours should be made to the Highways Agency national press office on 020 7081 7443.


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