Novel use of SMS to calculate city traffic journey times

5 Oct 2009

South Dublin County Council is making use of SMS technology to give estimated journey times to the public.

The urban council is using specialist technology from Irish software player Saadian that works in conjunction with the Traffic Management Centre for South Dublin.

The public can use this service by simply texting the road name and direction to 51678 – a text costs 15 cent. 

“It is live and interactive, as traffic calculations are taken every five minutes so it takes into account rush-hour traffic times and whether the traffic is light or heavy at a particular time or location,” explained John Kavanagh from Traffic Management Centre with South Dublin County Council.

“It works by measuring traffic volumes between two points and capturing all relevant data so an accurate journey time can be provided. We are hoping to expand the service later on so it takes into account road works, traffic accidents and road conditions, such as ice and closures.”

The SMS technology gives South Dublin journey times for N4, N7, N81, Belgard Road, Fonthill Road and the outer ring road. The public can also log onto their website or text “N4 East” or “N7 West” from their mobile to receive a response with estimated journey times, taking traffic jams into account.

“Whether it is business people travelling to meetings or parents doing the school run, this service is an added benefit to the public if they can avoid traffic delays before they begin their journey,” said Cliodhna McGuirk, managing director, Saadian Technologies.

But Kavanagh urged drivers to use the service in a safe manner. “We do reiterate, though, that the public should not text while driving and would like to remind drivers of the dangers involved.”

By John Kennedy

Photo: South Dublin County Council is using technology from Saadian that works in conjunction with the Traffic Management Centre for South Dublin to provide the public with estimated road journey times.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years