Live traffic via webcam: new highway app promises “exclusive data”

Drivers to get more and better information on traffic conditions via new service app from federally owned highway company. Users should be able to download the application from Tuesday, the company will then present it in Cologne. At the same time, the new app is not meant to be a competitor to Google Maps& Co. – but an addition.

Autobahn GmbH promises numerous added values, the talk is of “exclusive data”. For the first time, traffic and infrastructure information, as well as other data relating to the freeways, would be delivered bundled in one application. Let users see for themselves the traffic situation via hundreds of webcams along the highways.

Drivers should also be better informed about detours and when roadworks or accident sites will be cleared again. The highway company is the first to get the relevant information and pass it on via the app, earlier than, for example, Google Maps, said strategy chief Albrecht Klein.

Showing charging stations and rest areas

In a planned enhanced version, drivers should also be able to find out weeks before a trip where there are roadworks on a particular route and when they are scheduled to occur. Independent destination guidance should not be possible, as stated in a paper from Autobahn GmbH: “The Autobahn app is not a navigation app and therefore does not compete with established navigation providers.”

There is a handover of the route, meaning start and destination, to the navigation app used by users – in the launch version, these are Apple maps and Google maps. As with other apps, der Autobahn GmbH shows traffic jams along the route. It is also to show where and what kind of charging points are available for electric cars and where there are parking and rest areas.

Truck drivers are to be shown parking data, in addition to locations also information on whether there is a shower, a store or WLAN. According to the paper, user-related location information should only be collected if a user actively wants to be located during the route check for the map view.

Information on traffic jams mostly still from the radio

“The Autobahn app appeals to users who are looking for more reliable information about the Autobahns in addition to the capabilities of the navigation app they use,” said Stephan Krenz, CEO of Autobahn GmbH. “Our goal is to make highway travel even more convenient for everyone with the app.”FDP transport politician Oliver Luksic said the app offers drivers some practical information about traffic congestion or e-charging stations, but offers little added value compared to existing offerings. “In terms of digital and dynamic traffic control, even more should soon be possible.”

According to a representative survey by the digital association Bitkom, only 19 percent of people who travel by car, motorcycle or camper van use smartphone programs. To avoid traffic jams, the vast majority still obtained information from the radio or used a classic navigation device.

A Google spokeswoman said of the Autobahn GmbH app, “There are many different map services, and we welcome that because it drives innovation and ultimately makes for better products and experiences for people who use those services. At Google, we continue to focus on the challenge we set ourselves more than 15 years ago: to capture the world in Google Maps.”

Building faster and reducing congestion

He said the app is free and ad-free and is available for iOS and Android systems. It is a further development of the “Meine Autobahn” information app – according to Autobahn GmbH, the basis was functionality of the “Verkehr” app.NRW.”. Until the end of 2020, the federal states were responsible for the operation, maintenance and expansion of freeways; since the beginning of 2021, it has been the federal government’s responsibility.

Goal of major reform: build faster and reduce congestion. Because there is still a lot of construction to be done on the federal trunk roads, there is a high need for renovation of roads and bridges. With the new set-up, construction companies should have the same contact person, tenders and rules should be standardized, projects should be planned from one source. We are talking about a highway network of 13.000 kilometers.

There had been repeated criticism of the new highway company, for example because costs had risen or there were delays in IT systems. And actually, Deutsche Einheit Fernstrabenplanungs- und -bau GmbH was to be integrated into Autobahn GmbH – but this was halted in view of legal concerns. Now the app is being launched to show what Autobahn GmbH can do.

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