Check Before You Go. Better travel information available for Festive Getaway
Transport Scotland is continuing to invest in the most up to date technology to make sure that the Traffic Scotland twitter feed, @trafficscotland, desktop website www.trafficscotland.org and mobile website http://m.trafficscotland.org/ are as responsive as possible to the changing conditions.
As well as trialling a new text to speech app, we are using more electronic weather stations, which give real time information about live weather conditions, as well as the latest camera systems so both we and users can see exactly what is going-on across the trunk road network.
Information from these varied sources is now regularly fed out through @trafficscotland to more than 41,000 followers. It is also possible, on the Traffic Scotland desktop and mobile websites, for people to check the individual camera or weather station closest to them. They can also use internet traffic radio for the latest news across Scotland or in specific regions.
Evidence suggests that the reach of these services is at record levels. With 1.3 million individual hits on the Traffic Scotland mobile website on December 5 this year, when the weather was particularly stormy. This is in addition to nearly 14 million hits on the desktop website on the same day.
Transport Minister Keith Brown said:
“Christmas is a time for families to get together and for everyone to enjoy the best of the festive season and we want to help people have the best possible journey to their destinations.
“There is no doubt that the way road-users access information is changing and Transport Scotland and Traffic Scotland is changing with them to make sure that we meet their demands.
“Our digital services are constantly evolving and they are becoming the “go-to” information source for the traveling public, especially in times of severe weather. This is because the information is accurate, timely and reliable. The data comes straight from first-hand sources, such as our partners in Police Scotland and operating companies as well as from technology feeds, like our gritter-cams.
“We are constantly refining what we do and are now in the process of trialling a new smartphone app, which harnesses the latest text-to-speech technology. This means that users do not have to to take their eyes off the road as they can hear the latest information. We are also looking to further personalise our service and use hash-tags on Twitter to identify our trunk roads.
“All of this helps people plan ahead more effectively and they can check and react to developments as they travel. We would certainly encourage them to do so over the festive season.
“Our roads, railways and airports can face additional challenges when temperatures drop and there are difficult weather conditions. We are standing up our MART roads partners to cover the season and are working closely with our operating companies, Police Scotland and local authorities to keep Scotland moving over the holidays.
“We have high levels of salt in stock and more gritters as well as specialist equipment at our disposal than ever before. However, we also need the public to play their part for all of these developments by staying patient and making sensible decisions such as allowing extra time for their journeys or listening to police advice about when it is safe to travel.”
More details of the text to speech app are available at http://www.trafficscotland.org/campaigns/texttospeech/
The Multi Agency Response Team (MART), based at the Traffic Control Centre in South Queensferry, includes representatives from Traffic Scotland, Transport Scotland, Police Scotland, rail operators, road operating companies and the Met Office. Trunk road operating companies have all their resources available, including patrols, and will pre-position resources in areas of special attention if the weather worsens.
For real time journey information visit www.trafficscotland.org , follow @trafficscotland on Twitter, or call 0800 028 14 14.
The full Alerts, including the Chief Forecaster's Assessment and a map showing the areas included in the Alerts, are available at http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/warnings/
Rail, ferries and air users should check with individual service operators’ websites.
Check www.sepa.org.uk for flooding alerts.