Google Maps help ease traffic jams

Google Maps can now show real-time traffic speeds on motorways and 'A' roads thanks to traffic data from the Highways Agency.

The colour-coded overlays integrate with the existing Google Map facility in Datex II format, a European standard for road-data information exchange.

It helps motorists plan their journeys by providing traffic information and predictions based on past conditions.

The data, provided by the Agency's National Traffic Control Centre in Birmingham, is also used on its own Traffic England website.

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.

Traffic England is just one of the information services available from the Highways Agency, which also has a 24-hour traffic phone line on 08700 660 115. Its digital radio station, Traffic Radio, is also available on DAB digital radio and via the internet.

Director of information Denise Plumpton said: "We are the first country in Europe to work with Google. 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."

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