Traffic England a service from Highways England

FAQ

Traffic England is a free website which is available to the public 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is run by Highways England’s National Traffic Information Service. Highways England is responsible for most of the motorways and major A-roads in England.

Traffic England's purpose is to help you to make informed decisions about your journey, by providing up-to-date information about what is currently happening on the roads and forecast traffic conditions. With Traffic England, you can see if there are any major delays on your route and if so make a decision which will hopefully stop you from sitting in unexpected queues. This may mean you choose to travel at a different time or take a different route.

You may also wish to consider other forms of transport.

Highways England collects data about traffic flows, speed and travel times on Highways England’s road network. This is done using sensors on the roads and in vehicles.

We also collect information from our traffic officer patrols and emergency services – for example this informs the estimated end-time of an incident that appears on the website. Roadworks data is taken from our maintenance schedules and we also consider the impact on traffic of weather using information from our weather stations.

This is then processed and published on Traffic England in different forms to help individuals and businesses plan their journeys.

The information is continually updated and is therefore the best information we have available of the current situation on the roads.

All data collected is anonymous and none of the sources identify the individual vehicle or road users. For this reason none of the sources of traffic data used by Traffic England can be used for speed enforcement.

Many companies and individuals use this service to:

  • Monitor regular commutes
  • Find the current congestion hotspots and avoid unnecessary queues and delays
  • See how busy the roads are by viewing live CCTV
  • Check out traffic conditions on their route using the interactive map and traffic report
  • Identify the roadworks and whether or not they are causing delays
  • Plan business trips, deliveries and holidays by checking future roadworks, events and forecast traffic conditions that are expected to cause delays

Typical users include daily commuters, haulage companies, emergency services and tourists. If more people plan their journeys in this way, it can help reduce congestion for everyone.

The pages formerly known as Motorway Traffic Flow and Disruptions Search have been combined in the new Report page. If you are interested in a motorway, your page will be similar to the Motorway Traffic Flow page but A-roads will look more like the Disruptions Search tabular format.

The new Traffic England has been re-written to modern standards with improved security and different selectable options that could not be copied across to the new website. Please see the Help page for information about registering.

The trunk road network is a system of strategic routes of national importance that caters for the movement of long distance traffic. Highways England is responsible for the maintenance and operation of this network which includes most motorways ('M') and some major A-roads across England.

The website receives around half a million visits on average per month. Other people use our mobile services which include a website designed for mobile devices and a smartphone app. Visit the Highways England Mobile Services page for more information.

Highways England is responsible for the motorways and major A-Roads. The county/city councils and local authorities manage all of the other roads, unless the road is privately owned. Many local authorities do hold traffic information, roadworks schedules and CCTV images which can often be viewed on their own websites.

The Traffic England service covers most motorways and major A-roads in England.

In addition, the new Traffic England also covers limited sections of roads into Scotland and Wales, and some important local authority roads mainly in the West Midlands area.

Sensors in vehicles include GPS devices fitted into vehicles or on mobile devices – such as those used by some freight and haulage companies.

  • These sensors provide sources of traffic data that are not fixed to the roadside and provide information about the location, speed, time and direction of travel.
  • All the devices have to opt-in to the system so no data is collected without permission.
  • It is important to note that all of our traffic data sources are anonymous; so no personal or identifiable information is collected about you.

Information for the rest of the UK can be found through public news websites, journey planning websites and others. Links to Traffic Wales, Traffic Scotland and TfL have been provided on the map.

Check that pop-ups have been enabled in your Internet browser.

A route planner is not available on this service but this facility exists in many journey planning websites on the internet.

You can also find traffic information through:

  • Highways England twitter services, our mobile app and mobile website. Visit the Highways England Mobile Services page for more information.
  • RSS feeds – these enable you to keep up-to-date with any incidents by providing a news feed direct to your computer or website.
  • Local and national radio stations, who use information from Highways England and elsewhere for their traffic news bulletins.

The following information is available on our motorways and major A-roads:

  • Current and forecast average speeds
  • Delays, incidents, congestion, roadworks, adverse weather, future events and future roadworks
  • Speed compared to forecast speed for changes to regular journeys
  • Current and forecast journey disruptions
  • Traffic camera images and roadside messages

For freight specific information, you may wish to visit the Motorway Buddy App or the Google truck stop guide. These links are provided for general reference only and do not constitute any endorsement or approval by Highways England for any of the products, services or opinions they contain. Furthermore Highways England bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of the external site or for any links they contain. All questions pertaining to these external sites should be directed to the sites themselves.

A traffic camera is a video camera positioned at strategic locations across the trunk road network to provide an immediate view of the traffic and any incidents. These cameras are managed by operators in the National Traffic Operations Centre (NTOC) and Regional Control Centre (RCC) control rooms. Images are stored for a short time centrally on our HANET servers and accessed by operators, emergency services and information services through the high speed dedicated National Road Telecommunication System (NRTS). Traffic England provides links to the latest camera images in the HANET database. Images are refreshed every 30 seconds and a new image can be obtained by clicking on the word "Refresh" in the pop up box.

Occasionally an image will not be available because the image is not suitable for display on a public service such as Traffic England. When this occurs, the Camera Unavailable/Fault image will appear in the pop up box instead of the image. Only one image can be displayed at any one time to limit the load on HANET.

The camera locations are not the same as the monitoring equipment which provides speed information. Hence these two sources can sometimes appear to provide different information. This is because the traffic conditions visible on a traffic camera are much localised, whereas the speed information is averaged across larger stretches of the road network.

The traffic camera images remain the property of Highways England. They are available to the public to allow accurate journey planning. Any abuse through excessive loading will affect the service performance and we reserve the right to take action against such abuse.

The new Traffic England provides more information about incidents on Highways England's network. Definitions of some of the terms used are:

  • Delay (freeflow) - The estimated impact on your journey if you could drive at the speed limit.
  • Delay (profile) - The estimated impact on your journey compared to normal conditions for that time of day.
  • Time To Clear - The time we estimate the incident to clear and all lanes to become available based on the type of incident and vehicles involved.
  • Return To Normal - The time we estimate the road network to return to normal conditions.

After the launch of the new National Traffic Information Service in December 2015, the old DATEX II version 1 service was maintained for a further 9 months until end of September 2016. In accordance with paragraph 4.3 of Highways England's Acceptable Use and Operational Policy, subscribers were sent 3 months consecutive emails giving notice of our intention to cease this service and providing details of the replacement DATEX II version 2 service.

If you have a general enquiry or question about the Traffic England website please call our Information Line on 0300 123 5000 or by e-mailing us at info@highwaysengland.co.uk.

If you wish to let us know what you think of the Traffic England service please use this link to the feedback form.