Monday, 8 December 2014

Does gritter data show a mild winter?

We've recently published a news item that shows the number of total miles driven by our highway's gritter teams, and it's quite interesting.

It shows that the number of miles that the teams have been out in force are less than they were three years ago, which was generally considered a mild winter, and less than half of last year's total mileage.

The data, released by the Met Office, shows that so far this winter has been quite kind to our roads, with less gritters being sent out to grit our highways.

The graph, published on our site, is available here:

Does this mean that we may not be in for a white Christmas?  Only time will tell.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Where are our savings?

The AA reports that although the cost of petrol has fallen by around £2.37 a tank over the course of the last month, we motorists aren't seeing the full savings from the huge drops in the cost of a barrel of oil during the same period.

Per barrel, the cost of oil has dropped by over 11% over the last six weeks, meaning that in theory it should cost the same to fill up as it did back in 2010, when the price was the same.  Despite the introduction of the new VAT rate in 2010, the cost per litre is still 1.5p more than it should be.

Although many (including the Government) are pointing their fingers at the retailers (i.e. the forecourts), even the boss of the AA, Edmund King, is left feeling in the dark, stating that,
European motoring organisations, representing 35 million motorists, still haven’t had a satisfactory answer as to why petrol's commodity price hit $1200 a tonne with oil at $147 a barrel in 2008 but then returned to $1200 in 2011 with oil at only $125 a barrel.
If King is feeling that there should be more transparency in the industry (from producers all the way to retailers), what chance is there for us motorists to understand why we're not seeing some of our hard-earned cash make our way back into our pockets?  And if there is so much confusion as to who is to blame, surely we're more likely to dismiss it as 'fluctuations' in market forces.

One thing's for sure - we NEED more transparency throughout the system, and motorists need some answers.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Live traffic cameras

We're beginning to roll out integrated traffic cameras across the road and motorway network maps on our site, which will greatly improve the service we offer.

When visiting any of our map pages you'll see a 'View Cams' button at the top if the map.  Clicking this button will display available camera locations which you will display live cameras covering the location.

Central London, Wales, M25, M1, M62 and the M54 are all now available, and the rest due to be rolled out over the coming days.

Camera photos are supplied by official sources including Traffic Scotland, TfL, Traffic Wales and others.

We hope you find them a useful and valuable new feature.

Some cameras may be unavailable at any given time as the agencies may need control of them to protect personally identifiable information.

As usual, if you have any suggestions for improvement, please let us know.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Automatic language translations now available

We've just successfully added a Google Translation service into our website, so no matter what language you're most comfortable with, you can use our traffic update site without having to struggle to read the latest conditions.

To use it, just go to any of our website's pages, and click on the 'Select Language' dropdown on the top right hand side of any page.  Choose your native language and the page will automatically be translated.

Stay one step ahead of the traffic with our email alerts

Be the first to become aware of incidents on your route.
Do you make regular journeys and get fed up with traffic jams on your route?

Stay one step ahead of congestion, accidents and roadworks with our email alerts, which will send you notification of any incidents that happen on roads you travel.

Sign up at with our free, popular service.

Just specify what roads you wish us to monitor and the times of day you want to receive alerts and let us do the rest.

Whenever an incident happens on your route our system will automatically inform you by email, meaning you can make alternative plans to avoid the traffic jams.

Our traffic alert service has been in testing for the last six weeks, and it's proving popular.  With more than 600 people using us, it's already demonstrated that it's a useful service.

Spread the word!

Monday, 10 November 2014

Get your own traffic map

Add our traffic widget to your website - free!

If you've got a website and want to display the latest traffic and travel conditions on it, then you can now add our 'widget' to your site free of charge.

Just a few lines of code embedded on your site will magically show traffic for any area, postcode or town in Britain.

As a nation, we make 61 billion journeys a year, costing us between £7 - 8 billion every year.  Motorway closures alone cost £1bn each year - a huge impact on our economy.

By using our traffic 'widget' on your website, your visitors can take alternative routes or select a different mode of transport, meaning there is less of a financial impact resulting from delays on their journey.

Get it free at

Single carriageways 'Seven Times The Risk of Motorways'

The A285 is the most dangerous road in Britain, according to the Road Safety Foundation.

A new report listing the most dangerous British roads has revealed some interesting facts, including you are seven times more likely to have an accident on motorways than you are on rural roads.

The report, published by The Road Safety Foundation, includes statistics about how safe our roads are, breaks down the most dangerous highways in the country, and they're not where you'd think they were.

Coming top of the list is the A285 that runs from Chichester to Petworth.

You can see the full list of the most dangerous roads in Britain over at our news page, as well as downloading the full report:

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Win an AA Emergency Car Kit

Win this AA Emergency Car Kit over at our Facebook Page

Over at our official Facebook Page we're running a competition to win an AA Emergency Car Kit by answering a series of ten questions over ten days.

The person who answers the most questions correctly at the end of the competition period will win one of these handy kits to put in your car.  It contains all the essentials to ensure that you and your family have everything to hand should the worst happen on your journey.

Stick it in your boot, and hopefully you'll never need to use it.

Full terms and conditions and competition details on our website at

Good luck, and drive safely.

New payment arrangements for Dartford Crossing

New payment arrangements for using the Dartford Crossing will come into force at the end of November, named 'Dart Charge'.
New Dart Charge Arrangements

From the 30th of November motorists will no longer be able to pay at the barriers in an attempt to reduce congestion and ease the flow of traffic around the popular bridge.

Drivers wishing to use the crossing will need to follow the new arrangements:

New Payment Options:

  • Pre pay account: by topping up your pre-pay account you'll be able to use the crossing automatically without having to pay at the barriers.

    Existing DART-Tag users will not need to create a new account.  Transfer your DART-Tag to Dart Charge.

    New customers will need to set up a pre-pay account at
  • Online:
  • Phone: 0300 300 0120
  • Retailer: pay at a Payzone retail outlet
  • Post (in advance only):  Dart Charge Customer Services, PO Box 842, Leeds, LS1 9QF.

Please do not attempt to use these new methods of payment until the new arrangements are in force. Payment for the crossing will need to be paid for by midnight the day after using the Dartford Crossing.

Dart Charge Prices

Night prices for the Dart Charge will remain free between 10pm
& 6am.  Motorcycles are free 24 hours a day.

The final cash payment will be taken at Dartford Crossing barriers at 10pm on Saturday 29th November, with the first Dart Charge beginning at 6am on 30th November.

The crossing will remain free of charge for vehicles between 10pm and 6am.

Full information about the new arrangements can be found on the Dart Charge website.

For traffic conditions, see our Dartford Crossing Traffic page on our website.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Traffic Update now displays flooding alerts

We're delighted to announce the successful integration of Flood Alert information, supplied to us by the Environment Agency.

As you're browsing around the website you may notice our new icons designating a Flood Alert.  Clicking on the flood icon will display information about each flood, showing you where it has occurred, the potential impact on traffic (where available) and other relevant information from the Environment Agency.

Winter is approaching fast and river levels will be rising, especially if we see a lot of snow this winter melting due to a change in temperatures.

We've also added a new section allowing you to see all active flood alerts reported to you from the Environment Agency.

We hope that this new feature helps you to plan your journey even more effectively.

Don't forget that you can sign up for email alerts so you're among the first ones to become aware of any potential issues that will affect your journey, commute or trip.

As always, if you've got any suggestions or ideas how we can continue to improve our traffic information service, then please get in touch with us.

A49 Crash This Morning

Heads up - an accident on the A49 this morning has resulted in congestion on this busy stretch of road.

It follows an accident between Dorrington and Bayston Hill at 8am earlier today.

The road is passable but traffic is heavy as a result.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Traffic Update featured on Website

This morning I was chuffed to find that our website has been approved for the list of apps on the government's data website at

The profile page (see link above) outlines the background of our service as well as a few screenshots of what our traffic information website looks like, and I think it complements the list of apps relating to the Highways Agency dataset.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Northumberland ranked poorest for road safety

Data derived from the Department for Transport (DfT) datasets show that Northumberland has placed bottom in the list of safest roads in England last year, with 5.98 accidents per 1000 population.

On the other hand, Greater London is statistically the safest county for road users, with just 0.3 accidents per thousand people. 

Of course, the data shows that communities living in the top two (which also includes Greater Manchester) ranked counties rely heavily on public transport, which will have some bearing on the final statistics and overall ranking.

The list of top ten safest counties are as follows:

1: Greater London (0.3)
2: Greater Manchester (0.84)
3: Herefordshire (1.13)
4: West Midlands (1.22)
5: Middlesex (1.47)
6: Rutland (1.49)
7: Isle of Wight (1.72)
8: Merseyside (1.85)
9: Oxfordshire (1.91)
10: Norfolk (1.96)
11: Bedfordshire (2.05)

The most dangerous counties (accidents per 1,000 population) in England are as follows:

40: Gloucestershire (4.14)
41: Bristol (4.28)
42: Buckinghamshire (4.35)
43: East Yorkshire (4.49)
44: Lincolnshire (4.5)
45: Surrey (4.55)
46: Lancashire (4.7)
47: Staffordshire (5.04)
48: Cleveland (5.12)
49: Northumberland (5.98)

A more comprehensive analysis can be found at our website:

Thursday, 23 October 2014

New mobile-optimised pages

Today we've launched our new mobile-optimised pages, which we hope will improve the user interaction, speed and usefulness of our traffic information service.

From today, all mobile users visiting one of our motorway pages will be served our mobile content, which has been specifically designed for those using iPhones, Android or other smartphones.

As well as giving you a visual map to show you where traffic incidents and hotspots occur, we also provide a feature that allows motorists to locate their geographical position and return traffic problems direct via SMS to their mobile phone - handy when you're on the move.  There is a small charge of £1 (plus standard network charges) to use this service to cover our costs of hosting and providing this traffic information news to your mobile.

In addition, there is an audio report which is useful when you've got your phone in your hands-free cradle.  The voice is a little bit artificial at the moment, but we'll be looking at refining it so it sounds more natural over the coming months, if it proves popular enough.

We will be increasing the coverage of this mobile service to include roads, regions, cities and counties shortly, once we have identified any bugs that may have crept in whilst in development.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Beaulieu Parish Council Embeds Our Traffic Service

Thanks to Beaulieu Parish Council who have just managed to integrate our traffic information service into their website:

Despite a couple of hitches which saw a code conflict, we managed to resolve it and display live traffic conditions on the parish council website.

Located in the south east of the New Forest National Park, Beaulieu Parish is a picturesque village found not far from The Solent, with Southampton, Bournemouth and Portsmouth all within driving distance.  

Enjoying plenty of history and heritage, the village is home to the birthplace of many British Royal Navy ships, including some from Nelson's fleet.

Adding the traffic information service to their website will enable tourists, residents and visitors to the village access to live traffic conditions within a 25 mile radius of Beaulieu, and will cover major motorways in the area, including the M27 and M3 motorways.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Classic Road Safety Poster Still Relevant Today

This classic road safety poster was first used in the 1950's to highlight the growing number of motorcycle accidents on Britain's roads.

Published in 1975 by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), it was widely circulated to help raise awareness of overtaking at speed.

It's very well designed, and still shows how overtaking can result in a 'close call' - or worse - a death on the roads.

Although the number of road traffic accidents has reduced significantly over the last few decades, sadly there are still too many deaths caused by speed - and reckless driving.

All too often we see bikers weaving at speed in and out of cars, taking chances and narrowly avoiding vehicles coming in the opposite direction.

It seems that this poster is still as relevant today as it was almost sixty years ago.

You can get yourself a copy of this poster on the Classic Motorcycle website.  They're printed in full colour, measure 51x75cm and cost just £15.

NHS Dumfries & Galloway Find Us 'Useful'

Every day we come across more and more websites - both in the private and public sector that see the value in what we do here at

We're very pleased and grateful to the NHS Dumfries & Galloway service for recognising the value we provide to motorists in Scotland and recommending us to their website visitors.

Traffic Update is one of the few online traffic information services that provides traffic news for Scotland. We believe that by identifying us as a reputable source of travel information will help us to continue to demonstrate our commitment to quality, timeliness of information and reputation.

We have Traffic Scotland to thank for supplying the data in a format that allows us to provide live traffic conditions for all counties in Scotland, and enables us to report traffic problems for the whole of the British Isles - England, Scotland and Wales.

A full list of the regions and counties that are covered in our live traffic report can be found at our website -

Friday, 3 October 2014

Jaguar XE Ready For Pre-Order Sales

Looking absolutely stunning in the red, Jaguar has announced that the XE is now available to order before it starts deliveries in May 2015.

Prices are expected to start at £26,995 for the petrol entry level model, rising to £44,870 for the top of the range S model.

The range is likely to put it alongside competitors such as the Audi A4, Mercedes C-Class and BMW 3 Series.

The Jaguar XE S will be available at the time of launch, according to What Car, pulling an impressive 335bph with its 3.0 litre V6 powerhouse engine.  It'll deliver 0-60mph in just 4.9 seconds and offer a top speed of 155mph.  Amazingly, it'll also emit just 194g/km of CO2, averaging 34.9 miles to the gallon, which is impressive stuff.

The XE comes with all sorts on in-car services, allowing drivers to control smartphone services without touching the handset via a touch-based screen.  And you also get your own Wi-Fi hotspot using the antenna.

Which reminds me, my company car is due for renewal around the same time.  Decisions, decisions...!

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Three illegal immigrants arrested for walking along M6

Walking along the motorway really isn't the done thing, is it, yet that's what police had to deal with when they caught three suspected illegal immigrants walking on the hard shoulder of the M6 in Staffordshire this morning.

The police were surprised to see the three men strolling along literally a few yards from the busy stretch of motorway at 3.30am today near Hilton Services in Cannock.  They were promptly arrested and handed over to the UK Border Agency in Birmingham for questioning.

It was believed that their work visa had expired.  The three men were thought to be from Sudan.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

School run offenders to be punished

Good news for child safety - the Government has announced that parents who cause problems when picking up the kids will be banned from parking near schools and issued a £100 fine.

We all know of a handful (luckily the minority) of parents who don't think about the effects of parking badly when dropping off or collecting the children from school. Offenders who cause problems will be targeted with a new order, the Public Spaces Protection Order which will allow councils to clamp down on behaviour that may prove to be "detrimental" to the community.

We don't know what offences will be included yet, but local residents will have a large influence if they complain.

I think it's a great idea. But then again I don't have children at school-age!

Chris H

Car passengers face toxic risk

Think you're safe from toxic fumes inside your car? Think again.

Research conducted by the Environmental Audit Committee has shown that passengers inside their cars are exposed to 15 times more toxic particles than cyclists and pedestrians.

The research showed that occupants inside cars inhaled a whopping 50 million particles for each breath they took, as opposed to 6 million as a pedestrian.

Worth thinking about when sat in traffic with the engine running.

Driver warning for Apple Watch buyers

Drivers are being warned that they could face a fine of £100 and three penalty points if they use the new Apple Watch whilst driving.

The Department for Transport warns that using the £220 watch is illegal, whether drivers use it to read emails, surf the Web or check social media.

In more severe cases drivers caught operating the watch could be fined up to £1000 and a ban.

Nevertheless, at the current time it's legal to use hands-free phones or sat navs, so the law seems sketchy on this one until further clarification is put out.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

A big day for road tax tomorrow

Tomorrow sees the introduction of the Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) system that means you can rip up your car's tax disc and do whatever the hell you want with it.

Want to rip it up? Go for it? Feed it to the fish? Why not! Last year the DVLA proposed the abolition of the tax disc in order to streamline their systems, and believe it or not, save the tax payer some hard-earned cash too.

Sounds great, but there are a few things to keep in mind. We take a look at how the tax disc changes will affect motorists over on our website: Tax Disc Changes - How It Affects You.

So, tomorrow feel free to do whatever you want with your old paper tax disc. I'll be saving mine as I've heard it'll be worth something one day, even if it's a few pennies.