UK Government Mandates Accurate Travel Information for Satnavs

In a move to improve road navigation and create better road safety, the UK government has announced plans to mandate the inclusion of data on temporary speed limits, road closures, and parking spaces for satellite navigation (satnav) systems.

Realtime Data is Needed

Roads Minister Guy Opperman said that in a move to improve the current situation, all Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs), which include temporary speed limits or road closures, will be digitised to ensure accurate and timely delivery to any digital system, addressing the annoying issue of outdated information on satnavs.

Historically, TROs were not automatically updated on digital systems, leading to discrepancies in satnav information and causing problems for drivers. Acknowledging that this needs to change, the government aims to mandate data availability on TROs and parking space locations for satnavs. Opperman said that the move was to remove drivers' frustration. He said that there is nothing more frustrating than encountering closed roads due to outdated satnav information, and this emphasises the importance of providing real-time travel updates.

New Regulations Make Traffic Authorities Responsible

Under the new regulations, traffic authorities must submit their TROs to a newly established digital publication platform. The resulting data will be made freely accessible online for universal usage. Alex Smith, CEO of Buchanan Computing, a key collaborator in the digitisation of traffic orders, welcomed the government's move, highlighting its potential to benefit autonomous vehicles and simplify navigation for drivers by ensuring accurate information on parking spaces, road closures, and speed limits in satnavs.

Smith acknowledged the ongoing efforts of nearly 100 local authorities using real-time information via the ParkMap platform to digitise traffic orders. The aim is to establish a comprehensive national real-time coverage of Traffic Orders over time. This initiative aligns with the UK government's broader commitment to support the rollout of autonomous vehicles, where accurate and up-to-date information is crucial for safe operations on British roads.

The Automated Vehicles Bill

The government's commitment to digitising TROs is embedded in the Automated Vehicles Bill, which is currently under consideration in Parliament. The move is part of the government's Plan for Drivers, a 30-point plan designed to give people freedom to use cars, address perceived over-zealous enforcement measures, and support drivers.

In addition to focusing on satnav information, the government has unveiled proposals to increase fines for utility companies responsible for street works exceeding designated timelines. This comprehensive approach aims to create a more efficient and reliable road infrastructure while taking into account the very real advancements in autonomous vehicle technology in the United Kingdom.