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What is the trial?

As part of an ongoing focus on creating great journeys to keep New Zealand moving, and better informing our customers, the trial is a New Zealand-first to test the concept of using short-range radio to broadcast to motorists on route in a selected area.

Called 102.2 OnRoute FM, the trial service will broadcast real-time updates and some pre-recorded messages in the south-east Auckland area.

The real-time updates will run Monday to Friday from 6am to 7pm.

As this is a trial, the frequency 102.2FM is only available for a fixed-term, temporary licence.

Why are you doing the trial?

Our research has shown most people don’t check for traffic information before they start their journey and even when they do the situation can change quickly, so there is a heavy reliance on sources available on route, which have some limitations.

Our customers have also told us how frustrating it can be to experience unexpected congestion and have little or no information about what’s causing it, or potential alternative routes. People also tell us they like to know in advance about events or other activities which might impact future journeys, including on public transport.

At this stage, because of the age and origin of the majority of the New Zealand vehicle fleet, most people don’t have access to in-built car technologies for automated travel information just yet, so a radio service is a good potential medium-term solution which customers have expressed a strong appetite for.

Radio is safe and readily available for people on the road to get live information, unlike web based services which can only legally be accessed by passengers.

Use of short-range radio has been successful overseas, with various transportation and other agencies in a number of countries.

Who is running the trial?

The trial is being run by staff at the Auckland Transport Operations Centre, which is an NZ Transport Agency and Auckland Transport joint venture, along with members of the Auckland Motorway Alliance (AMA).   

Other Transport Agency and Auckland Transport staff are involved as appropriate along with staff from the NZ Police, and Auckland Civil Defence and Emergency Management.

When is the trial on?

The trial is on from Monday 6 March to Friday 1 September.

After this period, when our temporary FM licence expires, there will be a comprehensive assessment process.

What are the messages being used?

The messages will focus on helping motorists be better informed when they encounter issues during their journeys such as when an incident has occurred and also advising of scheduled activity which may impact a current or future journey, with the aim of enabling people to plan to avoid delays if possible.

The playlist will include updates on crashes and other incidents which are significantly impacting traffic, relevant civil defence emergency or warning messages, advisories about current and future roadworks plus public events that might affect people’s travel plans, some public transport information and a range of messages focused on driver behaviour or preparing for emergencies.

No commercial advertising will be included.

This is a trial and we will be testing different formats. It’s really important that we get feedback from listeners so that we can make improvements and fine tune the content. You can provide feedback here.

Why was Auckland chosen?

We looked at a number of different locations nationally and choose south-east Auckland for a number of reasons. 

The broadcast area covers one of the busiest sections of the New Zealand road network including,  the Southern Motorway (State Highway 1) from Takanini to Mt Wellington, State Highway 20, 20B and 20A, as well as arterial roads in south and east Auckland.

There is a significant volume of traffic using these arterial and other roads in the area and a high volume of public transport users who travel through the area via bus/train. Together this equates to a sizeable potential customer base

Also critical was that in this area road users have the choice to take a number of possible detours to avoid congestion or an incident, or opt to use public transport, so these options can be promoted via 102.2 OnRoute FM when appropriate.  

It’s also important to be aware the service can be heard outside the broadcast area shown but audibility degrades due to lower signal strength – hence it has not been advertised as ‘in zone’. Further, messages on-air will include updates about activity outside of the broadcast area when appropriate – for example updates on significant incidents further north or south on State Highway One, as we know many people travelling in the broadcast zone may be heading to these areas.

There is the possibility that this kind of broadcasting service could be used in a wider area or other parts of the country in future; however this is only a proof-of-concept and we cannot consider progressing that, including applying for the appropriate AM or FM licence, until we have analysed the results.   

How do I access 102.2 OnRoute FM?

Before travelling in the advertised broadcast area we recommend you pre-set 102.2FM as an option in your vehicle’s radio so you can easily switch to 102.2 OnRoute FM when you are in the coverage zone.

In some vehicles, such as older cars or Japanese imports, you may not be able to tune in to the station without a band expander or a newer radio which has broader FM band access. More information on band expanders is available on the Radio Spectrum Management website (external link) .

If you have tuned in and are still having trouble hearing 102.2 OnRoute FM here are a few things to check:

  • Make sure you are in the advertised broadcast area - as outside of this area the signal strength is reduced and you may not be able to pick up the station;
  • Ensure you are tuned to 102.2FM;
  • Verify your radio is working properly by tuning into another station.

If you’ve tried the above and it’s still not working – please email us.

Please be aware both the Transport Agency and AT provide alternative tools and resources to get the latest travel information:

What is the cost of the trial?

Approximately $300,000, with the majority funded via the Transport Agency and the balance by Auckland Transport.

How can I feedback on the trial?

Customer feedback is key to measuring the success of this trial, so if you have any comments or queries about the trial then please contact us via our online feedback form.

If you feel radio broadcasting standards have been breached you can make a formal complaint in writing within 20 working days from the date of the relevant broadcast.

Complaints can be made online (external link) using NZTA’s complaints form.

OR

Write to - NZ Transport Agency, Customer Response Team, Private Bag 11777, Palmerston North 4442, with all required details included.

More information on the standards and complaints process is available on the Broadcasting Standards Authority website (external link) .

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