Czech drivers testing RDS-TMC info system

Congestion, road reconstruction and blocked roads due to accidents can turn a car journey into a nightmare. But now things may be looking up for Czech drivers. The RDS-TMC info system, available in most European states, is finally being launched in the Czech Republic.

Up until now Czech drivers setting out on a longer journey could rely on their radio, on info-billboards along the road and their GPS. But without a comprehensive info-system it was a matter of pure chance whether or not they got the info that most concerned them. Now the approximately 200, 000 drivers who have GPS are able to use the RDS-TMC system which provides prompt and accurate information about pile-ups, accidents, road construction and weather-related tie-ups, enabling drivers to select an alternative route. Jaroslav Zvára of the Czech Transport Ministry explains that at the present time the system is still being tested.

“From a technical point of view the system is faultless. The trial run that is now underway concerns the support network from which the Traffic Information Centre receives notification about the state of the roads – we are talking about the police, fire crews, road maintenance crews and so on. Once we get notification from them we are able to get it into the system within 2 minutes flat. But we need to improve speed and coordination within the support network as well. So at present the system is in operation but it could happen that due to a fallout somewhere a driver might not be alerted to an accident up ahead. ”

The system uses all available information to assess the situation and suggest alternative routes, leaving it up to the driver to decide whether or not he wants to avoid the incident. Drivers visually monitor the traffic flow and see traffic developments with a time delay of two to three minutes. The system also includes the results of a recent study – pinpointing places that are particularly accident-prone. So is there hope that –as more drivers acquire it – this digital road info system will improve safety on the road? Jaroslav Zvára says it all depends on how drivers use it.

“There are no statistics on how this system has impacted road safety elsewhere. Our main goal is to give drivers a maximum amount of information on the state of the road as promptly as possible. It is up to them to put this information to good use. If I know there is a high risk situation up ahead and there is no alternative route I can make the decision to stop somewhere for a cup of coffee in the interest of making my journey safer and smoother.”

The trial run now underway is expected to last until mid-September by which time the system should be working as well as it is anywhere else in Europe.