Press release

Government's first satnav summit

Norman Baker is hosting the government's first 'satnav summit' to find solutions to drivers following out of date directions.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


Norman Baker, Local Transport Minister, is today hosting the government’s first ‘satnav summit’ to thrash out solutions to end the misery caused when lorry and car drivers follow out of date directions from their satnavs.

Highway authorities, mapping providers and satnav manufacturers are gathering at the Department for Transport after agreeing to the Minister’s call to work more closely to ensure everything possible is done to make sure the right vehicles are on the right roads.

The summit is being chaired by the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transportation (ADEPT) - which represents councils in transport - and ITS(UK) which promotes intelligent transport technology and whose membership includes satnav companies.

At present, it can take months for map updates to make their way from local councils to satnavs. As a result, drivers follow out-of-date maps and local residents end up with inappropriate traffic on their doorsteps. The summit will look at ways that satnavs can better reflect local conditions and whether they can unlock local authority information on parking availability or roadworks.

Local Transport Minister, Norman Baker, said:

Out of date directions mean misdirected traffic - a scourge of local communities. I am pleased that highway authorities, mapping companies and satnav manufacturers have agreed to work more closely to provide drivers with accurate, up-to-date information on traffic restrictions such as narrow roads or low bridges.

The summit will see a plan of action agreed to ensure motorists are given the best possible directions and help prevent huge lorries from being sent down narrow country lanes and through small villages.

This is timely because from next month we are allowing local authorities to reclassify roads - ensuring A roads are placed where they want traffic to run and lowering the category of road in places they want traffic to avoid - rather than having to come to Whitehall for approval. These powers will help councils make sure that drivers are using suitable routes.

Ministers are also tackling the misery caused by lorry drivers following satnavs down narrow and inappropriate roads as part of a package of new traffic signs rules.

Under the new rules councils will no longer need Whitehall approval to introduce certain new signs or some existing ones that they need to use on a regular basis - including one to warn lorry drivers of unsuitable roads.

Further information

The new policy on road classification is available.

ADEPT was formerly known as the County Surveyors Society, and represents councils in transport, planning, waste and other related areas.

ITS(UK) - Intelligent Transport Systems (UK) - is the UK association for the promotion of intelligent transport technology, including satnav devices. It has over 160 members, both in the satnav industry and the public sector.

More detail about the update to traffic signs rules.

  • Traffic signs

Press enquiries: 020 7944 3108
Out of hours: 020 7944 4292
Public enquiries: 0300 330 3000

Published 6 March 2012