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Travel advice on the go via new radio service trial

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A trial starting in Auckland this week for a new radio service, is designed to give motorists better travel information while they’re on the move.

A short-range radio service, called 102.2 OnRouteFM, is being trialled in one of the busiest sections of Auckland’s transport network. The broadcast area covers the Southern Motorway from Takanini to Mt Wellington, State Highway 20, 20B and 20A, as well as arterial roads in south and east Auckland. (See map supplied).

The trial, starting today, 6 March, will run for six months and is a joint initiative from the NZ Transport Agency and Auckland Transport.

It will also broadcast messages from NZ Police and Auckland Civil Defence and Emergency Management.

Pre-recorded messages can be heard 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Live updates on incidents affecting the transport network will be available during peak commuter times of 6am to 7pm, Monday to Friday.

“According to customer research, most Auckland drivers don’t check traffic conditions before they start their journey and often rely on sources available on route, which have some limitations”, says Rua Pani, Manager of the Auckland Transport Operations Centre which is running the trial.”

“Our customers have 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 like to know in advance about events, or activities which might impact on the transport network, including public transport.” 

“This trial is testing the concept of a dedicated radio service designed to give motorists on route detailed and up to date information on things that might impact their current or future journey, especially for those who drive alone and can’t look at their mobile phones.”

“Customers have expressed a strong appetite for this kind of service and it’s worked well overseas, so we’re really excited to see how people embrace it here.”

The information broadcast will include updates on crashes and other incidents along with relevant civil defence emergency or warning messages, advisories about current and future roadworks plus public events that might affect people’s travel plans, along with some public transport information and messages focused on driver behaviour.

“Frustrated and distracted drivers pose a real road safety risk, and this radio trial looks to address both of those by providing drivers with timely and accurate information through a communication channel that doesn’t require them to take their eyes off the road, and that’s a great thing,” says Waitemata Road Policing Manager, Inspector Trevor Beggs.

“It will also provide reminders to drivers and their passengers to make good decisions when they get in the car such as wearing their seatbelts. By making these good decisions we will be able to reduce death and serious injury on our roads.”

Director of Auckland Civil Defence and Emergency Management John Dragicevich says collaborating in the trial provides another tool for sharing potentially life-saving information with the public.

“To succeed in helping people prepare for and get through any emergencies in Auckland we need to use a wide range of communication channels and with this trial we have an exciting opportunity to add short-range radio to the mix.”   

To use 102.2 OnRoute FM it is recommended people who regularly drive in the trial area pre-set 102.2FM as an option in their vehicle’s radio before they start a journey. This way it’s easily accessible if they want to listen while on the move in the broadcast zone.

For more information visit www.nzta.govt.nz/onroutefm(external link) or www.at.govt.nz/projects(external link).

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