Updated: New iPhone application will provide drivers with live traffic information based on GPS
Despite warning over the dangers of mobile phone use at the wheel, the UK’s Highways Agency has launched an application for the iPhone to help drivers navigate around traffic jams and cut carbon emissions
In a statement released this week, the agency said the free app will be updated in real-time with information from the National Traffic Control Centre. The application will provide users with their current location using GPS. The results are shown as a list of incidents and planned roadworks in the area, as well as traffic updates. The system will even tune into the Highway Agency’s radio station to provide traffic updates.
Highways Agency director of traffic management Simon Sheldon-Wilson said the iPhone app is the latest in a range of free journey planning tools. “This sort of project is a key part of our information strategy aimed at getting traffic information out to road users where and when they need it, allowing road users to plan their journeys better, helping reduce congestion and lower emissions,” he said.
Other tools provided by the agency include a mobile version of its web site which drivers can use to access live traffic information. But despite encouraging the use of information on the go – the agency made it clear that phones should never be used while driving. “We are clear you should never use a mobile phone while driving, but we also encourage drivers to take frequent breaks and that is an ideal time to check the road ahead,” said Sheldon-Wilson.
On the first day of Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona this week, a group of mobile operators announced a plan to take on Apple’s dominance of mobile applications. Service providers including AT&T, China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone announced the so-called Wholesale Applications Community which will enable developers to easily build and distribute apps, “irrespective of device or technology”.
Late last year, Ford announced plans to roll out the second generation of its Sync in-car connectivity system, which establishes a Wi-Fi hot spot inside a vehicle, sometime in 2010. However, the company has not yet disclosed which of its hot rods will be hot-spot-enabled.7
This story has been updated to remove a mention of Google Maps.