Netherlands launches first real-time Talking Traffic services for 1.2 million road users

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More than 1.2 million road users in the Netherlands are now able to receive personal real-time warnings about traffic jams ahead, stationary vehicles and suddenly changing local weather conditions, due to the launch of live ‘connected’ services by the Talking Traffic Partnership.

Users of the Flitsmeister smartphone app are the first to benefit from the real-time information, which has been launched by Talking Traffic, a partnership between the Dutch Ministry for Infrastructure and Water Management, 60 regional and local governments, and a large number of national and international companies, including KPN, Siemens, and Ericsson.

As the service develops, more new information will become available, such as the current availability of rush-hour and add-on lanes, and other providers will soon follow with similar services. The strength of the new service is due to the speed with which road users are being informed, as new information is available within just one second. The Partnership describes the speed of updates as being capable of turning simple ‘navigation’ information into ‘tactical driving task support’.

The Talking Traffic system enhances road users’ ability to anticipate dangerous situations, offers speed advice to ensure arrival at a green traffic light, provides information on available parking spots, and powers regular updates to variable message signs (VMS).

The Partnership believes that the real-time information will contribute to an improved flow of traffic and road safety. As part of the program, intelligent traffic lights are also being installed in an increasing number of locations in the Netherlands.

The new systems consist of smart traffic lights that communicate wirelessly with each other and with vehicles using V2X (vehicle-to-everything) and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, with the aim of helping to improve the overall flow of traffic.

Some of the new signals are already operational, and approximately 800 intelligent traffic lights will be put into use before the summer. Within five years, 2,000 to 3,000 traffic lights across the country will be converted, enabling them to directly communicate with connected vehicles.

It is estimated that currently, non-adjusted traffic lights result in losses of some €90m (US$112m) in the Netherlands, caused by additional travel time, unnecessary emissions, and road safety issues.

The Netherlands government considers that as the Talking Traffic Partnership mainly focuses on connectivity and data exchange, it will prove to be an important pioneer for the future widespread introduction of self-driving cars and new infrastructure for connected and automated transport.

“Working together with innovative companies, like we do within the Partnership Talking Traffic, is already resulting in apps and services that are truly beneficial to people in everyday traffic,” said the Netherlands Minister for Infrastructure, Cora van Nieuwenhuizen.

“The new, real-time information for traffic participants contributes to an improved flow of traffic and increased road safety. Our infrastructure is becoming smarter and smarter, and information services are becoming more user-friendly every day.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since he joined the company in May 2014. Prior to this he worked on some of the UK's leading consumer magazine titles including Men's Health and Glamour, beginning his career in journalism in 1997 after graduating with a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).

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