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Problems caused by out of date and inaccurate satnav data are to be tackled by a government summit later this year.
The summit is intended to address situations where large vehicles are directed along inappropriate routes; large lorries driving down narrow country lanes being a prime example
Norman Baker, the Local Transport Minister, wants highway authorities, mapping providers and satnav manufacturers to work more closely to ensure everything possible is done to make sure the right vehicles are on the right roads.
In October last year, a delivery driver managed to wedge his seven-foot wide lorry into a seven-foot wide high street in Somerset and damaged a 300-year old house in the process.
Commercial satnav devices do take vehicle dimensions into account when plotting a route, as do those intended for use with car vans and motorhomes.
Most consumer satnav devices and smartphone software also offer an ‘RV option for simple large-vehicle navigation too, so routing problems are either the result of improper driver use, or map data being inaccurate.
The summit will be attended 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.
It takes place in March, just before local councils gain the ability to specify how roads under their control appear on maps.
Under the new system, councils will no longer need government approval to introduce certain new signs, or existing ones that they need to use on a regular basis — these include ones to warn lorry drivers of unsuitable roads.
The summit will presumably also address the speed at which any changes to road classification are incorporated into the mapping data used by satnav companies.
The real problem, of course, is how to then ensure drivers update their satnav devices to make use of the new data.