Traffic management provides guidance to the European traveller and haulier on the condition of the road network. It detects incidents and emergencies, implements response strategies to ensure safe and efficient use of the road network and optimises the existing infrastructure, including across borders. Incidents can be unforeseeable or planned: accidents, road works, adverse weather conditions, strikes, demonstrations, major public events, holiday traffic peaks or other capacity overload.
The current instrument of strategic traffic management in Europe is a traffic management plan. This is a pre-defined set of temporary measures and procedures in response to a specific situation. At present, such plans are used all over Europe, many of them on a regional level, some on national or cross-border levels. In general several partners are involved and the duration of the initial situation requires substantial co-ordination. The surrounding network has to be considered not only the affected road section.
On the trans-European transport network all major border crossings should have adequate traffic management plans in operation. Equipping critical road sections and accident black spots (e.g. tunnels, bridges, mountain passes, large congested areas) with adequate ITS and providing ITS services at locations and areas on critical road segments will lead to quick wins in terms of safety and road efficiency. Benefits on a Europe-wide scale will be derived by addressing issues that serve cross border areas and long distance traffic.
Traffic management is a task of the public authorities and road operators and its operation is mostly handled by traffic control centres.
Another important role of traffic management is the smooth operation of urban and interurban interfaces and links between the different transport modes (e.g. road and public transport).
Core services include strategic corridor and network management, section control (especially for sensitive road segments), incident management, speed control, ramp metering and hard shoulder running.