PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 3, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Motorists using major highways in England can now access real-time, personalized traffic and roadway travel information on their smartphones by downloading a free app developed by Philadelphia-based Information Logistics. The Hands-Free Traffic Talker England (HFT England) app audibly broadcasts information about a motorist's specific travel route, freeing the motorist from the distractions of touching the phone, reading messages, or listening to irrelevant traffic alerts.
England's Highways Agency is providing traffic information and timely advisories about all of its roadways to Information Logistics. Advisories concern lane closures, active road works, accidents, traffic congestion, and other conditions affecting travel. The Highways Agency, an Executive Agency of the United Kingdom's Department for Transport, is responsible for operating, maintaining, and improving the strategic road network of England, outside London.
"We want to allow road users to access live and targeted traffic information in a safe manner when they need it. The availability of smartphones provides a way to do just that, and the introduction of this hands-free app is really exciting, it being both iPhone© and Android™ compatible," said Highways Agency director for traffic management Simon Sheldon-Wilson.
"Our collaboration with Information Logistics is a good example of the public and private sectors working together to provide motorists with real-time traffic news and constant updates about incidents on the network," Sheldon-Wilson added.
Information Logistics President Mary Farrell said this is the company's first overseas launch of the traffic app. "We're just very delighted that the Highways Agency saw the value that our app can deliver to motorists," Farrell said. "We like to tell people that our app moves with them, and now we can say it's moved to England. This launch represents an important breakthrough for our team here." The app is currently used in the US by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission to provide location specific traffic advisories to motorists using its toll-road system.
Farrell approached the Highways Agency earlier this year to collaborate on this project. She explained that unlike text-format travel services, "this app is safer to use, because advisories are broadcast through the phone just like listening to a car radio. There are no driving distractions owing to touching or looking at the phone. After a user turns on the app and starts to drive, it stays quiet unless and until there is information important for the user to hear."
Hands-Free Traffic Talker England is being introduced ahead of the summer school vacation, traditionally a busy time on the Highways Agency network as families head for the beach or major ports. It is also available in time for the 2012 Games and will provide updates useful for people travelling to London or to Games venues outside the capital. The app has been made available in beta release for use by the public and we welcome feedback and comments on how we can improve it.
"The Highways Agency works to make its information as widely available as possible. Our traffic data is openly accessible to all and is being used by organizations such as GoogleMaps™, TomTom, and the BBC, and we look forward to working with other partners in the future," said Sheldon-Wilson.
Information Logistics (http://www.infologisticscorp.com), founded in 1990 and located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, offers a broad spectrum of information technology services and solutions with a focus on web and smartphone application development, and a network optimized for reliability and maximum uptime. Another version of its traffic advisory app, TripTalk, recently won both the Smart CEO Volt Award and the IBTTA's Toll Excellence Award in Technology for its sponsor, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. See a video demonstration of TripTalk at http://www.paturnpike.com/triptalk.
The Highways Agency (http://www.highways.gov.uk) oversees the motorways (comparable to U.S. interstate highways) and other principal roads in England. Routes under the Agency's control carry a third of all road traffic, and two-thirds of the road freight traffic in England. In recent years, the Agency's role has expanded from simply maintaining roadways to being a network operator, responsible for the facilitation of traffic flow and the provision of travel information services to motorists.
Any smartphone user can download the Hands-Free Traffic Talker England app securely and at no charge from Google Play or iTunes. Users are not required to disclose personal information or register to use the app. It is available to the public in beta version so that members of the public can provide feedback and comments on how it can be further improved. Sponsorship and advertising can be placed in the app. Contact Information Logistics for details.
SOURCE Information Logistics