Traffic information added to Google Maps

England's Highways Agency has made its traffic data available to Google for use within the new Google Maps traffic feature.

The traffic feature overlays a colour-coded layer of the average speeds on England's motorways and major 'A' road network onto the existing Google Map facility. Different colours indicate the current speed of traffic.

The Highways Agency provides its traffic information to Google in a Datex II format, which is a European standard developed specifically for road data information exchange and provides real-time traffic information and predictions based on past conditions, helping motorists to plan their journeys ahead to avoid congestion.

Denise Plumpton, Director of Information at the Highways Agency said: "I'm delighted that we are the first country in Europe to work with Google and use our information for the benefit of road users across the country. This sort of project is a key part of our information strategy aimed at getting traffic information out to motorists where and when they need it.

"We work regularly with third party organisations in order to get our information to as wide an audience as possible. We have also recently provided the BBC with access to our traffic cameras to allow road users to check the conditions on the internet before they leave. We look forward to working with other partners in the future."

The data, provided by the Agency's National Traffic Control Centre in Birmingham, is also used to populate the Highways Agency's own Traffic England website (www.highways.gov.uk/traffic). Using this site, drivers can see current and predicted driving conditions, view what is currently being displayed on electronic motorway signs and even tell the average speed between any two junctions on the motorway network.

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