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Hauliers offered support with new routing data

Further support to help route lorry drivers using satnavs has been announced today with the release of new 'steep road' information from Ordnance Survey.

The mapping agency, which provides road network data to the satnav industry, is the only organisation to have mapped the location of every steep road gradient in the country. It hopes the information will be used to help route truckers on the most appropriate and fuel-efficient roads.

“Knowing where roads climb and fall sharply is vital for safe and efficient route planning,” says Tom Satterthwaite, Senior Product Manager for transport at Ordnance Survey. “Hauliers prefer gentle slopes so a lorry can maintain a constant speed. This not only saves fuel but is also safer for the driver. If a satnav system knows where steep roads are, the driver can be routed to avoid them. The potential for fuel cost savings are significant.”

The steep hill data complements the existing information on road weight, width and height limits that Ordnance Survey first published in 2006. An HGV specific satnav relying on both sets of data would not only be able to route efficiently but could also avoid sending drivers down unsuitable roads.

Ordnance Survey hopes that the addition of steep gradient data will further encourage satnav manufacturers, which have so far focused primarily on the car market, to release products to specifically support HGV drivers. Mr Satterthwaite continues, “We believe good HGV routing is both fuel efficient and avoids inappropriate roads. A satnav achieving this would benefit both local people inconvenienced by lorries following satnavs designed for cars, as well as the haulage industry itself.”

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) welcomes the developments. James Firth of the FTA says: “HGV satellite navigation units certainly require different attributes than those designed for motorists, and road gradients are one of them. This is a move in the right direction.”

Existing users of Ordnance Survey's transport data will receive the new gradient data in April and the data will then up updated regularly.

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