Drivers on the M6 and M5 are set to be given access to real-time information about the length of their journeys via a series of electronic roadside signs.
As part of a region-wide trial, the signs will be placed at major junctions along the two motorways and will display up-to-date travel time and delay information from the Highways Agency’s National Traffic Control Centre (NTCC), covering a total distance of 160 miles.
Operating for 24 hours every day, the center collects information on road and traffic conditions across 7,300km of England’s motorways and trunk roads and uses data from a network of electronic monitoring equipment.
This includes 3,750 on-road sensors, which identify slowing traffic and pictures from 700 closed circuit television cameras.
Information also comes from Agency traffic officers, police forces, local highway authorities, contractors, leisure and entertainment venues and weather centers.
The software being used during the trial uses historical traffic data for the two motorways, adjusted by information from automatic number plate recognition cameras (ANPRs) to reflect current conditions. It automatically recalculates the travel times every five minutes and updates the display.
If an incident, such as a road accident, causes delays on the motorway above a certain threshold, the message will automatically switch from the travel time message to show the estimated delay.
Accounting for major incidents, the Agency expects that the signs will be available to display journey and delay time messages for approximately 80% of the time.