The Freight Transport Association (FTA) is urging the Government to look long and hard at the recommendations made in the Transport Select Committee’s (TSC) report: Out of the jam: reducing congestion on our roads. The leading trade body, whose views on the ‘patchiness’ of available road traffic information were included in the report, welcomes the TSC’s recommendations to fill gaps in information for freight operators.
Malcolm Bingham, FTA’s Head of Road Network Management Policy, said: “Congestion on our roads represents a massive drag on the economy, the businesses that rely on a timely and robust supply chain and the environment. Obviously when parts of the strategic road network are obstructed by accidents, weather and other unforeseen incidents like strike action, transport operators need to be kept on the ball. After all, with the cost of diesel so high, a 300-mile detour is not something a haulier wants to enter into lightly; good, real-time information is therefore vital.
“While gaps in knowledge on the strategic road network are mercifully few, there are gaping holes in local authority areas where operators also struggle to get the information they urgently need.”
The report recommends that the Department for Transport (DfT) should decide what real-time information should be made available from local authorities and the Highways Agency to road users and what should be provided by the private sector. It also asks DfT to identify and overcome the barriers to collating and delivering that information.
Bingham concluded: “We urge the Government to take up the recommendations made to DfT on the supply of traffic information to allow the freight industry to make better informed choices to deliver goods to customers when the road network is under stress. Real-time information is critical if we are to ensure that deliveries are made on time and are not delayed because of congestion.”
For more information: www.fta.co.uk