Traffic and travel information for freight operators
Norwich/United Kingdom CIVITAS SMILE | 2005-2009
As an incentive to adopt cleaner vehicle technology, the provision of a customised information service for freight operators was linked to their willingness to use more energy efficient vehicles in the urban area.
Implementing sustainable mobility
Prior to measure implementation, a limited amount of traffic information was available to freight operators and other transport system users through a variety of media: on-street signs, Internet, mobile phone technology, and radio and television. The premium customised service being offered would draw on real-time information available through Norfolk’s integrated Urban Traffic Control Centre.
The main objectives were to:
assess freight operators’ willingness to participate in such a project;
establish freight user needs and priorities with regard to service information;
encourage a number of freight operators to adopt clean urban principles in return for user information; and
assess the benefits and problems encountered by operators with respect to the user information and the adoption of clean urban principles.
How did the measure progress?
Determining operators’ interest in the freight measures involved:
setting up a web-based virtual exhibition;
placing adverts for the website in logistics magazines;
writing directly to 700 operators (locally and nationally) asking them to visit the site; and
creating a downloadable reply form enabling operators to express an interest.
Work was undertaken with the two most interested operators to identify their traffic and travel information needs and develop a customised viewer that could be used by operators of heavy goods vehicles. The viewer allowed access via the Internet to specific real-time traffic and travel information held in the database of Norfolk’s integrated Urban Traffic Control Centre.
What were the outcomes of the measure?
The following key findings were identified.
Traffic and travel information can help with the planning of delivery routes before and during deliveries.
A sufficient level of detail about road conditions is required in order to determine whether or not it is beneficial to avoid a particular stretch of road.
An added benefit would be the provision of traffic information backed by other information such as the most appropriate routes for heavy goods vehicles and the locations of weight/width/height restrictions on the road network.
The provision of traffic and travel information alone has benefits and does not necessarily need to be linked to a requirement for information receivers to adopt cleaner urban principles.