Thu, Dec 25, 2008 - Page 2 News List

Bureau says service will help drivers avoid traffic

CHECK IT OUT Motorists will soon be able to check estimated travel time between freeway interchanges or look at the traffic via Web cam before leaving home

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Motorists driving on freeways during the New Year holidays can calculate their estimated travel time with the help of the new Intelligent Transportation System (ITS), the Taiwan Area National Freeway Bureau said yesterday.

Kang Jhy-fu (康志福), deputy director of the bureau’s traffic management department, said motorists would be able to check online (1968.nfreeway.gov.tw) for the estimated travel time between two freeway interchanges or between two toll booths before leaving home.

They can also have a look at the traffic through online video feeds before deciding which route they should take.

“Once they are driving on the freeway, they can get updated information through electronic billboards installed along the way,” Kang said.

Taking the Hsinchu Interchange as an example, where Freeway No. 1 and Freeway No. 3 converge, Kang said that drivers in the northbound lanes would be able to decide which freeway to take with the help of the traffic information displayed on electronic billboards.

The billboards currently only warn motorists when there are traffic problems or heavy fog up ahead.

But the ITS will enable the billboards to show where there is heavy traffic and the estimated time needed to travel to reach the next interchange.

It will also inform drivers about information such as toll-free hours during the holidays.

Kang said the ITS was functioning at 76 electronic billboards and that the bureau was scheduled to have approximately 100 billboards across the country ready by the New Year holidays.

Approximately 300 are expected to be running before the Lunar New Year holidays, which begin on Jan. 25.

Kang said the bureau planned to improve the ITS by informing drivers when the shoulder of the road is open during heavy traffic and offering a traffic information-exchange system and automatic surveillance of the traffic in the tunnels.

The new services are scheduled to begin by May.

Meanwhile, Kang said that motorists could access the latest traffic information through global-positioning-system (GPS) devices. The bureau has provided traffic control information to the nation’s GPS service providers free of charge.

The ITS only monitors the traffic on seven freeways and 12 expressways on the West Coast.

In related news, the bureau said yesterday that all freeways would would be toll free from next Friday to Sunday between the hours of 12am and 7am to facilitate traffic flow.

In addition, the shoulder roads between Taoyuan and Jhongli (中壢) and between Sanying (三鶯) and Dasi (大溪) will be open to traffic during the holidays.

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