GPS sends street directories down a dead end?

They were a must-have in almost every car van truck and taxi even if a few years old and worse for wear. They were the reliable gift for the young driver’s first car and a perennial for Father’s Day.

But the street directory could be reaching the end of the road. Universal Publishing which compiles the UBD and Gregory’s directories has twice pushed back the launch of this year’s 2010 editions because of falling sales.

The 2010 street directories were due late last year – they’re always released in time to be a handy ‘stocking stuffer’ for Christmas – but May is upon us and the 2009 books remain on the shelves.

“The way people use mapping and navigational products is changing and we need to respond to changing consumer behaviour” company spokesman Stephen Ronchi told The Daily Telegraph.

Falling prices have helped drive the GPS into the mainstream assisted by the continued introduction of new models with ever-better features. Then there are the tricks which no street directory can perform such as alerting you to the presence of speed cameras and picking up real-time traffic reports via the SUNA radio system.

The ability to look up and then print out a route on Google Maps has also given casual drivers a cheaper and more accurate alternative to buying a street directory.