Motorists resort to road atlases amid problems with satnav

Motorists in the UK are increasingly resorting to road atlases amid technology problems with the satellite navigation (satnav) systems, according to a report by The Telegraph.

The Department for Transport has been holding discussions with satellite navigation device manufacturers about solving some of the technological problems created by technology.

The recent reports of foreign lorry and coach drivers getting stuck in small country lanes, and the futility of a recorded voice urging a driver to make a sudden u-turn in the middle of a traffic jam are factors influencing drivers to keep an up-to-date map in the car. A Cornish councillor has also launched a campaign for updating the Highway Code to take into account the perils of turn-by-turn navigation.

Meanwhile, DfT minister Norman Baker and motoring groups have welcomed the news that motorists were going back to using road atlases.

‘I am delighted. I don’t use a sat nav in my car, I use a road atlas, they are far more reliable,’ said Baker.

‘The increase in atlas sales suggests that many drivers are taking a belt-and-braces approach to route-finding,’ said Edmund King, the AA’s president, adding: ‘Having an atlas on board helps them to double-check a road to make sure it’s suitable.’

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC foundation, commented: ‘Is it that drivers don’t trust the sat navs or do not trust their ability to use them? Perhaps map reading should be one of those core skills taught at school alongside maths and English.’

While the AA has registered an increase in demand for its atlases in recent months, citing one publisher, the Telegraph said that the sale of road atlases has increased by 10 per cent in the past year, especially among older motorists.

However, a spokesman for Tom Tom, a leading satnav manufacturer, said: ‘Research we carried out over the summer showed that despite Britain’s road network changing by up to 15 percent every year, it seems that many drivers in the UK continue to drive with out-of-date maps.

‘In addition more motorists now use sat navs than don’t use them – 51 percent of UK drivers use a satnav while 42 percent of people driving with a map still get lost on a car journey and 24 percent of motorists relies on a map that is more than three years old,’ he added.

Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Reports on Road Congestion Affecting Business

Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, an agency in the UK promoting tourism in Birmingham, is reporting that congestion on the roads is a major factor of delays in project completion and escalating costs for businesses in the area.

A recent survey by the Chamber of Commerce suggests that 61% of respondents are upset as they felt road congestions are causing an increase in the costs of business, while 42% feel that road congestions are causing delays that are detrimental to their business reputations.

Geoff Inskip, the chief executive officer of Centro, the UK based organisation operating bus, rail and Midland Metro Tram transport in the West Midlands area, said, ‘We have a growing population and people are increasingly choosing to travel to do business and enjoy leisure time. We want to open up new rail routes and add services for passengers and freight on our existing lines. This is good news for businesses and communities right across our region.’

Inskip believes that road congestions is costing GBP2.3bn per year, even as the number of passengers opting to take rail transport is increasing.

Centro is keen to revive a freight services route on the Stourbridge-Walsall line, and the passenger services route from south Birmingham to Moor Street station, as part of the Camp Hill line.

Birmingham Chamber chief executive officer, Jerry Blackett, said, ‘It is clear from our survey that congestion is costing our businesses money and harming their reputations.

These are difficult times and we must do all we can to remove these obstacles and ensure business in Birmingham is as competitive as it can be.

We want to see more freight being carried on our railways to relieve the pressure on our road network. We are at the crossroads of the country and, while this presents advantages with our central location, it means we are seeing increasing levels of congestion.’