The number of heavy good vehicles and through traffic using Cheltenham’s residential streets could soon be reduced. Cheltenham MP Alex Chalk raised the problem of “sat-nav blight” in Parliament after seeing it at first hand with local residents.
Alex Chalk highlighted the issue through a Parliamentary question. He asked the Transport Minister Andrew Jones to “hold discussions with manufacturers of satellite navigation devices on steps that could be taken to ensure that HGVs are not inappropriately directed into narrow residential streets.”
Responding to the Cheltenham MP, the Transport Minister confirmed that the Department for Transport is investing £3 million to create a national digital road map (NDRM), developed by Ordnance Survey. It will be launched before the end of the year. The NDRM will enable better integration and sharing of data on roads between local authorities and sat nav service providers.
Alex Chalk commented: “This is great news for residents. Too often, large HGV vehicles and through traffic are using Cheltenham’s quiet and narrow residential streets because of poor sat-nav directions. Roads like East End Rd in Charlton Kings are particularly blighted. It puts a huge strain on the local road network, which simply isn’t designed for this size and scale of vehicle.”
Mr Chalk continued: “Whether it’s seeking to rat-run, avoid traffic lights or roadworks, the sat-nav blight causes major problems for local commuters. Connecting the NDRM to sat-nav providers will be a major improvement, which will hopefully reduce the pressure on our local streets.
The NDRM database will include information about planned road maintenance. The Minister has confirmed that road widths, weight restrictions, bridge heights and restrictions on left or right turns at junctions will also be included.
The Minster confirmed to Mr Chalk that Highways England has also published 'a Traffic Information Strategy setting out how they will work with local highway authorities to integrate journey planning across the network, improve communication with road users and make traffic data and information available to third parties to enable these companies to develop products and services for customers.'