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Read all about the latest news on the highways that matter and on issues pertinent to Traffic Officers. Please submit your news to falkor, photos are especially welcome!
We need ALL news items that may be of interest to Traffic Officers. Awards, honours, unusual incidents, off duty and even holiday stories are all valid articles for this page.
After reading the news below, please do have a look at our 2007 Traffic Officers calendar, full details are at the bottom of this page! Thanks for visiting national Traffic!
Liverpool set for US-style highway patrol
Dec 22 2007 by Larry Neild, Liverpool Daily Post
BRITAIN’S first American-style Highway Patrol could be launched on Merseyside within the next few months, the Daily Post can reveal. Police in Merseyside, Cheshire and Lancashire police forces are in discussions about joining forces to establish what would be the UK’s first ever dedicated motorway police force. If backed by the three police authorities, it will enable a dedicated team of highly skilled traffic officers to patrol several hundred miles of motorway.
Although the aim would be for the officers attached to the dedicated motorway police unit to remain with their own forces, the link-up is likely to eventually lead to a separate motorway police force, gradually expanding as more police forces join.
The proposal has been prompted by the scrapping of proposals last year to merge a number of UK police forces.
That would have seen Merseyside and Cheshire becoming one force, but the Home Office withdrew the nationwide merger programme. Talks that started as a result of the ill-fated merger plans did, however, open the door to cross-border collaboration between neighbouring forces.
Last night Merseyside Chief Constable Bernard Hogan-Howe gave a cautious welcome to the proposals.
He is expected to present details to Merseyside Police Authority early in the New Year. If that timetable was met the new motorway unit could be in place as early as March.
Manchester and Cumbria are so far not involved in the proposed collaboration, but the hope would be they would consider joining Merseyside, Cheshire and Lancashire later on. Mr Hogan-Howe said: “When we examine the activities of professional criminals it is quite clear they regularly use our motorways to get around. At the moment each force patrols it own stretches of motorways, but we only cross boundaries in pursuit situations. Officers on motorway patrol at the moment are attached to police traffic units, and also carry out work away from motorways, such as accidents or incidents on A-roads. One advantage of a joint motorway unit is that a dedicated team of police officers will patrol the entire system of motorways within the three counties.
“We believe it could be a useful tool in crime detection, particularly with modern technology such as vehicle recognition.”
The government’s Highways Agency recently introduced a force of civilian traffic officers on the motorway network in the North West.
Based in a control room at Newton-le-Willows, the Traffic Officers go to the aid of stranded motorists marooned on the hard shoulder and work with the police at accidents and incidents when motorway lanes have to be closed.
If the motorway patrol unit proves a success it could even mean the eventual absorption into the force of the Highways Agency Traffic Support Unit.
The pilot scheme in Merseyside, Cheshire and Lancashire is expected to be watched with interest by other forces around the country which cover large stretches of motorway
Dec 22 2007 view more news view the thread on this view the article
From The Times
November 28, 2007
The road map designed to keep congested Britain on the move
Britain needs a new network of motorways and A roads to cope with 12 million extra cars and a 43 per cent increase in traffic over the next 30 years, according to a new study.
It adds that, without a significant investment in new routes, most of the motorway network will degenerate to conditions experienced on the western section of the M25, which is congested throughout the day.
The study, by Imperial College, London, commissioned by the RAC Foundation, recommends that 373 miles (600km) of new lanes be added to the strategic road network every year. This is the equivalent of 100km of motorway with three lanes in each direction. The Government has approved an average of just over 100km of new lanes a year until 2015.
The study, entitled Roads and Reality, also recommends the introduction of road pricing on motorways and A roads, an idea that the Government has been reluctant to pursue since 1.8 million people signed a petition against it this year.
Stephen Glaister, professor of transport at Imperial and the lead author of the study, said that drivers would be more willing to accept road pricing if some of the £80 billion projected annual revenue were used to build more roads on congested corridors.
The study includes a map showing roughly where the new roads should be built. It includes three routes from London to the North and West and a giant new South East motorway ring well beyond the M25.
It says that some of the new capacity could come in the form of extra lanes on existing routes. But it favours the construction of new roads because they are cheaper, cause less disruption than widening and can be built to higher standards. It suggests mitigating some of the impact of the new roads by building them in tunnels through sensitive areas. It also recommends making some car-only.
The study acknowledges the depth of public feeling against new roads but points out that the strategic network, which carries a third of all traffic, occupies only 0.16 per cent of the country.
Professor Glaister said: “The Government cannot use the possible future introduction of road pricing as a reason to ignore the need to improve the strategic road network.”
David Holmes, chairman of the RAC Foundation, said it was a myth that new roads simply filled up with traffic. He admitted that they did encourage some extra journeys but said that they also reduced congestion and removed traffic from less suitable, less safe roads. He said: “Our children and grandchildren will not accept poorer standards of service from transport than we have today.”
Using DfT forecasts and data, the study predicts that the number of cars will rise from 26 million at present to 38 million by 2041. It proposes a road-pricing system of varying charges depending on the level of demand. It says that the average charges would be 9p per km in northern and western regions and 11p per km in the Midlands and South East. In cities, the average charges would be much higher.
The Campaign for Better Transport, which is partly funded by bus and rail companies, said that the proposals would result in a large increase in climate-change emissions. It published the result of a YouGov poll that it commissioned in which 2,000 people were asked if they would prefer the Government to invest in public transport or road building. Only 30 per cent voted for road building while 62 per cent chose public transport.
Peter Hendy, commissioner of Transport for London and chairman of the Government’s Commission for Integrated Transport, said that all new roads should have tolls.
November 28, 2007 view more news view the article view the thread!!
49 New Discoverys for H A
25 September 2007
We all know that Land Rovers are usually good for a few miles and six figure readings on the odometer are nothing to be worried about. But how about an 18 month old Discovery with 213,000 miles on the clock? ~That’s the average for the current fleet of Highways Agency vehicles that are being replaced with 49 brand new Disco 3s
Land Rovers are selected by the Highways Agency for their towing and load carrying capabilities, good all round visibility and their capacity to cope with adverse weather, such as snow, ice or floods. The current fleet were used intensively in recent months to cope with the floods.
To accompany the sale Land Rover also provide 'Adverse Weather Conditions Driving Courses’ at Land Rover Experience centres to ensure that all officers have the knowledge and ability to use the vehicles safely and effectively, and in all weather conditions.
"The training programme has been specially developed with the needs of the Traffic Officers in mind and has been designed to ensure that Officers are ready to cope with the worst that the British weather can throw at them."
Land Rover works with emergency services, police, and ambulance teams across the country. The company supplies a quarter of the global aid agency market and is involved in numerous important conservation programmes worldwide, which are hugely beneficial to local communities.
Without the use of Land Rovers, some of their rescue missions or emergency operations would be impossible.
25 September 2007 view more news view the thread on this view the article my favourite HA vehicle
national Traffic kicked off on 23 Sep 2006, since then we have seen an amazing 620 people join the site and even better an awesome 1700 topics started !! This has given us plenty of food for thought as you can imagine!
Mind you during that year we have sadly seen a number of our members suffer significant intimidation from jobsworth supervisors attempting to pressurise an admission to site activity, as if such a thing was heretic, blasphemous or even illegal!! Participation in this site is none of those things, but I can tell you that such intimidation has resulted in members dropping out and even in one case, the deletion of virtually every post the member ever made. He went back and manually deleted each one, he was so terrified of what he had been subjected to AT WORK.
Such harassment is nothing short of disgraceful, but thankfully as the year has moved on, we have not seen any increase in this unbelievable bullying tactic.
Click here to read what Don had to say on all this 1 year ago.
Moving on to something a little more cheerful, I am proud to remind you that in May this year we were listed on dmoz - an Open Directory site listing the best sites on the web today.
I cannot close without saluting the TOP TEN members of 2006 without whom I am sure the site would have had real trouble establishing, okay Don and I are ourselves in that TOP TEN but heeey we are in very good company I am sure you will agree!
|1||Flash||subSilver||01 Nov 2006||member 44||
|2||Blackrat||GreenMylon||09 Nov 2006||member 53|
|3||TheWanderer||subSilver||23 Sep 2006||member 3|
|5||Charl_Hunter||subSilver||25 Sep 2006||member 8|
|6||Race Track||subSilver||15 Oct 2006||member 30|
|7||drocto||subMerged||11 Oct 2006||member 26|
|9||Cruise Control||subSilver||07 Dec 2006||member 99|
|10||Northern Lad||GreenMylon||09 Nov 2006||member 52|
Police praise for Traffic Officers in first year
Published Tuesday, 15 May, 2007 - 14:00
Merseyside Police has praised the response of the Highways Agency's new Traffic Officer Service which marked a year of activities at the end of last month (April).
New Highways Agency figures show control room staff and patrols dealt with more than 1,200 serious incidents in their first year on Merseyside motorways.
Highways Agency Traffic Officers have been introduced across England to tackle congestion-causing incidents quickly and free up police time so they can concentrate on motorway crime.
And their performance in their first year on Merseyside's motorway network has now been praised by the area's police.
Inspector Dave Corcoran, of Merseyside Police's Roads Policing Department, said: "The Highways Agency's Traffic Officer Service has brought real benefits for users of our motorways - and working in partnership with police patrols across the region is helping to make the road network safer.
"The past 12 months has been a great success for this partnership and I look forward to even greater benefits in the coming year. Our combined experiences of the Open Golf in 2006 and our joint response to incidents every day will ensure that Traffic Officers and the police are ready to meet future challenges together such as the Capital of Culture celebrations and other events."
Traffic Officers based at the Highways Agency's high-tech Regional Control Centre at Rob Lane in Newton-le-Willows and colleagues from outstations at Knutsford and Samlesbury have dealt with thousands of serious and other incidents along the M62, M57, M58 and M53 since the launch into Merseyside on 26 April last year.
Tackling congestion is a priority for the patrols with Traffic Officers in the county playing a significant role in reducing the impact of accidents and other incidents on delays. Patrols' congestion-tackling work includes removing dangerous debris and live animals from carriageways and hard shoulders and working with the police at serious incidents to manage traffic and speed up congestion relief.
Traffic Officers' response is coordinated from the HA's high-tech North West Regional Control Centre (RCC), also located at Rob Lane. There, Officers in the control room monitor motorway cameras, set signs warning of incidents and bad weather and answer calls from emergency roadside telephones in the motorway hard shoulder.
Called to a multiple road traffic collision on the M62 south of Prescot in August of last year, Constable Rachael Fidler from Merseyside Police discovered that with no serious injuries involved HA TOs already had the situation in hand.
She said: "The main carriageway had been cleared and the traffic flowing again freely. Theirs was a fast and efficient response to the incident.
"The friendly way in which they dealt with the parties involved in the collision and myself was also notable - they are real ambassadors in building excellent relationships between the Traffic Officer Service the police forces they assist across the region."
Drivers from the area have also praised Traffic Officers. Everton and England striker Andy Johnson, assisted on the M62 last year when he suffered a late night puncture, said it was 'a great service'.
And senior engineering manager Barry Baker from Wirral was full of praise after Traffic Officers advised him following a puncture on the M53 near in January. "I give then 10 out of 10 for their diplomacy and professionalism - and their approach to safety was excellent."
Brian Hensby, Operations Manager at the RCC in charge of Traffic Officers in Merseyside, said: "We are delighted by the welcome we have received from road users and from Merseyside Police. It is a credit to our teams out on the road as well as those staffing the Regional Control Centre.
"Advising and providing reassurance to broken down drivers is only part of our role and Traffic Officers are also playing an important role in Merseyside in tackling congestion as well as working with the police to manage traffic at serious incidents. "We have worked very closely in the North West with each of the five county police forces to establish close working relationships but it is always nice to get this kind of response from our partners on the motorway network.
"Of course we are not complacent. The service is still evolving and we welcome feedback from drivers and other travellers."
Notes to Editors
15 May, 2007 view more news view the thread on this view the article
traffic officers visit pride event for the first time
31st August 11.00
Highways Agency Traffic Officers - England's newest uniformed service - really got into the swing of things at last weekend's Manchester Pride event.
It was the first time that Traffic Officers had ever officially visited a pride event in England.
The Agency took a stand to the event as well as several Traffic Officers from the North West Traffic Officer Service and one of their high-visibility 4WD patrol vehicles.
The theme of the event was journey planning and as well as explaining their role.
Traffic Officers mingling with Pride-goers explained what the Highways Agency is doing to help drivers plan their journeys - including the latest edition of the popular planning atlas Think Ahead, Move Ahead and the Highways Agency's website www.highways.gov.uk.
Traffic Officers' job is to quickly tackle incidents which cause congestion on England's motorways and keep drivers on the move.
Pictured is Traffic Officer Supervisor Paul Airlie who works at the Millness Outstation in Cumbria covering the M6 in the county and Manchester Pride visitor Martin Walker from Birmingham (picture by Bill Cooney, Highways Agency).
Martin told PinkNews.co.uk: "When I saw those lovely Traffic Officers standing there in their hi-vis gear next to their 4x4, I just knew I had to get a pic. What a nice bunch they are."
Highways Agency spokesman Neil Sterio told PinkNews.co.uk: "We got a fantastic response from Pride visitors to our stand.
"Our new Traffic Officers were at the stand every day with a 4WD patrol vehicle and got a terrific response when people found out about the kind of work they are doing up and down the motorway network to keep drivers on the move.
"We also got a lot of enquiries about careers in the Traffic Officer Service which is particularly pleasing and encouraging."
31st August 2007 view more news view the thread on this view the article
More than half of incidents are drivers running out of fuel
Bank holiday motorists were urged to fill up their tanks before setting off to avoid adding to the gridlock on the roads this weekend.
The Highways Agency said more than half the incidents they deal with involve drivers running out of fuel.
Roadworks will not be suspended over the holiday weekend, said the agency, which urged motorists to check their website for details of the planned schemes.
The RAC has predicted the worst May Bank Holiday jams in several years due to the forecast of fine weather at least today and tomorrow. Traffic hot spots will include routes to the West Country and to coastal resorts, the M25, the M1 in South Yorks and Notts and the M6 at Birmingham.
Train operators are also bracing themselves: Eurostar predicts it will carry 100,000 passengers over the weekend.
British Airways says bookings have been particularly heavy on flights to Nice, Paris, Geneva, Edinburgh and Rome.
The Association of British Travel Agents said just under two million Britons would be leaving the country over the Bank Holiday weekend.
05/05/2007 view more news view the thread on this view the article
Hard shoulders could be open to all drivers
Last Updated: 2:36am GMT 20/03/2007
Motorists could be allowed to drive on motorway hard shoulders under controversial plans to ease congestion.
Following a successful trial of the scheme in Birmingham, ministers are considering opening the safety lanes on all motorways to speed up traffic during peak times.
But safety campaigners condemned the proposal as "disastrous", claiming that such a move would make it difficult for emergency services to reach accident scenes.
The Highways Agency opened the hard shoulder on the M42 near Birmingham last September and allowed drivers to use it during peaks times or when an accident was blocking the main carriageways. Operators using closed-circuit television cameras can open and close lanes, including the hard shoulder, between junctions 3A and 7, at a moment's notice. Drivers can stop on the hard shoulder as usual when it is not being used for traffic, and lay-bys have been built for breakdowns.
Six months into the trial, the Department for Transport says it is "encouraged" by the early results and is considering using it elsewhere.
But Sarah Fatica, a spokesman for the road safety charity Brake, said: "We believe that lives could be lost in the added time it takes emergency vehicles to reach accident scenes."
Hugh Bladon, of the Association of British Drivers, said: "This is just another way of overcoming the problem without spending any money."
20 Mar 2007 view more news view the article view the thread
ANDREW PICKEN TRANSPORT REPORTER (firstname.lastname@example.org)
TRAFFIC jam-busting patrols are to be introduced to the Lothians motorway network in a bid to cut down on congestion.
The rapid response units will mount 12-hour patrols of the city bypass, the M8 and the M9 to help clear accidents and breakdowns.
Among their duties will be moving cars and passengers to safety, clearing up broken glass and debris and spotting road defects.
It is hoped the patrols, which will be funded by Transport Scotland, will help to increase traffic flow and keep jams to a minimum.
The patrols will also allow police officers, who currently have to clean up after traffic accidents, to make better use of their time.
The move follows a successful trial on the motorways around Glasgow, which saw response times to calls from emergency phone booths slashed from an average of 44 minutes to just 14 minutes. Drivers groups today welcomed the introduction of the patrols - known as the Trunk Roads Incident Support Service (TRISS) - as good news for motorists.
Neil Greig, head of policy in Scotland for the Institute of Advanced Motorists Motoring Trust, said: "This is long overdue. We have been calling for these sorts of support systems to be put in place for some time now.
"In America this sort of thing is quite common. They have a thing called a minute-man service which comes and deals with accidents or breakdowns almost as soon as they happen. Here we have highly-trained police officers often left to clean-up or sweep away glass after accidents, so I think this is a better use of resources.
"There is no prospect of any new motorways in Scotland in the near future so we have to make the most of what we have just now, and this sort of initiative will help to keep the traffic moving."
A fully-equipped van with two officers will carry out the patrols between 6.30am and 6.30pm, Monday to Friday. In last year's trial in the west of Scotland, the patrols attended 66 per cent of the 2429 incidents on the motorway network around Glasgow.
Bruce Young, Lothian co-ordinator for the Association of British Drivers, said: "This a very good idea. The Highways Agency in England does a similar thing and it is a much more friendly and efficient approach than leaving it to the police.
"The best thing is that it will keep the roads safer, the bypass in particular can seize up very quickly with incidents so it is a positive move. I think drivers who use the bypass on a regular basis will welcome this wholeheartedly."
Transport Scotland also revealed that it is to make improvements to one of the city bypass's busiest sections. The Sheriffhall roundabout is to have improved signals installed to help try and improve traffic flow.
A Transport Scotland spokesman said: "This new service will reduce congestion and improve safety.
"When cars break down on a motorway or trunk road it is always a major concern. The TRISS teams, working with the police, will ensure that immediate action is taken to move vehicles to a safe location. This will benefit motorists across the Lothians."
12-Mar-07 view more news view the article view the topic HATOS IN WALES?