Traffic and travel information for freight operators
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.
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.
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.