People asking for bypasses often seem to think that once their bypass was built they could get from A to B without any trouble, forever. The government’s road-building programme assumes that building more roads and widening existing ones can solve congestion problems and remove ‘traffic hotspots’. Yet motorways and major roads suffer congestion.
The traffic-monitoring company INRIX, which monitors traffic congestion in the US and Europe as well as the UK, recently published a report which pointed out the UK’s worst congestion ‘corridors’, and its website suggests web-based solutions. Could these also be applied at ‘traffic hotspots’ such as Chichester, Worthing and Arundel?
The INRIX UK Traffic Scorecard for this year points out that ‘in ranking the worst traffic bottlenecks across the country, London, Manchester, Newcastle and Glasgow dominate the rankings in commuting nightmares’. Sussex is nowhere mentioned. According to the report, the Top 10 Worse UK Traffic Bottlenecks are:
- Birmingham: The M5 heading towards Birmingham at the M6
- London: The Blackwall Tunnel Approach at Blackwall Lane
- London: Canterbury Way heading toward the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge at the M25
- Newcastle upon Tyne: The A19 at the Tyne Tunnel North Approach
- London: Canterbury Way heading toward Purfleet at the M25
- London: The M25 headed toward Rickmansworth at the J19
- Glasgow: The M8 heading toward Kingston Bridge at the J22
- London: The M25 heading toward Dartford at the J1B
- Glasgow: The M8 heading toward Kingston Bridge at the J20
- Glasgow: The M8 heading toward Seaward at the J21
If you go on the INRIX website, they have suggested solutions. See their recent blog at http://inrix.com/the-future-of-mobility-starts-in-the-cloud/ . Their CEO recently spoke at a conference about the latest ‘connected car’ innovations. These offer:
Real-time traffic services: Know Before You Go. Via ‘real-time GPS data from over 250 million vehicles and devices’, drivers now have access to ‘real-time traffic information, incidents, accurate ETAs and more’. A connected car ‘via your mobile phone can alert you of optimal departure time to make a meeting’ before you even enter your vehicle.
Smarter Parking: Discovery, Reservations and Transactions. ‘Drivers will soon be able to discover a parking spot, reserve it and pay for it all within their car before arriving at their destination’, through ‘INRIX On-Street Parking, which combines data from Cities, mobile payment companies, real-time parking and connected car-sharing services’.
Road Weather Data: Safety Beyond the Seatbelt. 30 per cent of accidents in Europe are weather-related. With INRIX Road Weather ‘we gather GPS co-ordinates, weather information and car sensor data such as ABS traction, accelerometer data, braking and windshield wipers. All this data tells us the exact spot where drivers encountered black ice, hydroplaning, fog or heavy rain. As this technology matures and automakers learn how to truly leverage the cloud, the connected car will not only save time but also save lives.’
Surely we are at a turning-point. If this new technology can help relieve congestion in urban areas, it can help relieve congestion in rural areas too. This throws into question the Government’s whole multi-billion road-building programme. Instead of planning extremely damaging road-building schemes, such as all the off-line bypasses they are currently suggesting at Arundel (without having yet defined exact routes), they should be examining what this kind of technology can do to alleviate the ‘traffic hotspots’. It could make their planned desecration of the countryside redundant.