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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 March 2006, 14:38 GMT 15:38 UK
Traffic centre aims to cut jams
Traffic jam
Better information may help reduce growing problem traffic problems
A new national traffic control centre for England has been opened by Transport Secretary Alistair Darling.

The Birmingham centre is meant to cut hold-ups on major roads by collating regional information on traffic jams, and sending out warnings to drivers.

The information comes from various sources including sensors in the road, CCTV cameras, police and motorists.

The centre, run by the Highways Agency, can then update warning signs and radio traffic reports, or send out officers.

Internet radio traffic reports are also being planned, and new touch screen information points are to be fitted at service stations.

The centre covers about 4,500 miles (7240.5km) of England's motorways and trunk roads.

Mr Darling, who was given a tour of the control room on Thursday, said the centre based near Quinton will "make a real difference" to drivers' journeys.

Arriving late

Despite doubling its motorway network during the past 30 years, the UK has Europe's busiest roads.

And one out of every five drivers in the UK regularly experiences congestion, compared with 7% in France and 4% in Germany.

The number of cars on UK roads rose by 70% between 1982 and 2003, according to the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE).

And congestion costs businesses an estimated 20bn a year as productivity is hit by staff arriving late to work.




SEE ALSO:
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20 Mar 06 |  Bradford
Cash for congestion charge study
28 Nov 05 |  Manchester
Car charge trials 'in five years'
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