Traffic information equipment (variable message signs) is the fastest way to inform of an incident (such as a traffic accident, traffic obstacle, etc.) that has happened on the given section of a motorway or expressway.

How does the information get to the variable message sign?

  • Immediately after the occurrence of an accident, the first (and, due to the nature of the matter, not always accurate) information is reported by the people involved in the accident or other drivers on the emergency line (Czech Police - 158, Fire Rescue service - 150, 112, Emergency Medical Service - 155).
  • The IRS operating and control stations receive the emergency call and immediately send the respective response units and means to rescue lives, mitigate damages, investigate causes, and direct the traffic at the incident scene.

  • At the same moment, the information is passed on automatically or semi-automatically to the National Traffic Information Centre (NTIC).

  • The NTIC operators thus know the probable location and nature of the incident by the time of the fire rescue or medical emergency unit departure.

  • Information from drivers - traffic reporters and telematic system data, especially from the surveillance cameras and traffic flow detectors, is also used.

  • Upon the evaluation of the initial information from one or more sources, the information about the incident is immediately published on the variable message signs.

  • At the same moment, the information is also published on the website, broadcast via the RDS-TMC service and, via a data distribution interface, provided to all subscribing media, telecommunication providers, traffic information service providers, public administration bodies and institutions, IRS branches, crisis management and defence planning subjects, freighters and carriers, etc.

  • In most cases, only several minutes elapse between the incident occurrence and the publishing of the first information on TIE or other media.

  • Still, during the time necessary for the processing and publishing the information, dozens of drivers shall pass along the TIE, WHO SHALL NEVER BE ABLE TO LEARN ABOUT THE INCIDENT AHEAD OF THEM IN ADVANCE.

  • The primary, and in many cases inaccurate, information from the emergency call is later (e.g. after the arrival of the IRS units to the scene, after the decision about closing the road, etc.) continuously narrowed down and updated until the problem is solved and the traffic fully restored.

The swiftness of the publishing and the development of the correctness and accuracy of the information always depends on the bodies, organizations, or institutions that supply the information to the NTIC, according to applicable legislation. Also, the spread of telematic technologies and the quality of cooperation with the traffic reporters play an important part.