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New Zealand trialing new traffic radio service in Auckland

A joint initiative between the NZ Transport Agency and Auckland Transport has started a trial for a new traffic radio service in the city’s metropolitan area, which is designed to give motorists better travel information while they are on the move.

A short-range radio service, called 102.2 OnRouteFM, is being trialed for six months in one of the busiest sections of Auckland’s transport network. The broadcast area covers the southern motorway from Takanini to Mt Wellington, State Highway 20, 20B, and 20A, as well as arterial roads in south and east Auckland. It will also broadcast messages from NZ Police and Auckland civil defense and emergency management. Pre-recorded messages can be heard 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Live updates on incidents affecting the transport network will be available during peak commuting times of 6:00am to 7:00pm, Monday to Friday.

The information broadcast will include updates on crashes and other incidents, along with relevant civil defense emergency or warning messages, advisories about current and future roadworks, plus public events that might affect people’s travel plans, along with some public transport information, and messages focused on driver behavior.

“According to customer research, most Auckland drivers don’t check traffic conditions before they start their journey and often rely on sources available on route, which have some limitations,” explained Rua Pani, manager of the Auckland Transport Operations Centre which is running the trial. “Our customers have told us how frustrating it can be to experience unexpected congestion and have little or no information about what’s causing it, or potential alternative routes. People also like to know in advance about events, or activities which might impact on the transport network, including public transport. This trial is testing the concept of a dedicated radio service designed to give motorists on route detailed and up to date information on things that might impact their current or future journey, especially for those who drive alone and can’t look at their mobile phones. Customers have expressed a strong appetite for this kind of service and it’s worked well overseas, so we’re really excited to see how people embrace it here.”

Waitemata road policing manager, inspector Trevor Beggs, commented, “Frustrated and distracted drivers pose a real road safety risk, and this radio trial looks to address both of those by providing drivers with timely and accurate information through a communication channel that doesn’t require them to take their eyes off the road. It will also provide reminders to drivers and their passengers to make good decisions when they get in the car, such as wearing their seatbelts.”

Director of Auckland civil defense and emergency management, John Dragicevich, said, “Collaborating in the trial provides another tool for sharing potentially life-saving information with the public. To succeed in helping people prepare for and get through any emergencies in Auckland, we need to use a wide range of communication channels, and with this trial we have an exciting opportunity to add short-range radio to the mix.”

March 13, 2017

Written by Adam Frost

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