February 2, 2007

NAVTEQ Traffic Patterns Released

So fresh off my post yesterday on the same subject, NAVTEQ is preparing for the future of better traffic services with this release of historical traffic data. NAVTEQ has made available its NAVTEQ Traffic Patterns, a database of typical traffic speeds on over 170,000 miles of primary and secondary roads across major U.S. cities, including interconnecting highways.

This new product delivers speeds for primary and secondary roads (function classes one through three) in major cities across the United States. Historical observations from GPS probe data are aggregated, verified, and then matched to TMC (Traffic Message Channel) codes on the NAVTEQ map.

Again, this data will eventually find its way onto your GPS and help you make better decisions about travel times through traffic. Don't forget that Traffic.com has ths data also, and there is a pending acquisition of Traffic.com by NAVTEQ. Should be interesting once they get together to see what the future looks like for the combined firm.


Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

February 1, 2007

The Coming Wave of Better Traffic Reporting in GPS Systems

With the yesterday’s announcement that Clear Channel is turning on 92 markets of expanded traffic coverage, it got me thinking that things are starting to roll in the traffic-reporting world. I've recently talked with people from Traffic.com and Inrix about where they are in the traffic reporting world and where things are going. The bottom line is that things are moving fast and it's up to the device manufacturers and the delivery infrastructure to catch up.

We used to listen to the guy in the copter for everything (I remember Joe Green in the ‘BZ copter here in Boston), and then we took a big jump with installed traffic sensors; those towers with speed monitors mounted along the highways. There are three things that are about to make for a huge jump in capability for customizing traffic reporting and making your life a lot better. They are all here and ready to hit the market:

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Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

January 31, 2007

Clear Channel and Inrix Greatly Expand TMC Traffic Coverage

Inrix is on the move again, and they have announced that their traffic flow data based on the Dust Network is again expanding and that this expanded traffic data along with other flow data will be sent to us via TMC traffic by Clear Channel by the end of the first quarter 2007.

If you are already getting TMC traffic, what do you have to do to get the extra coverage of 50,000 miles of roads with traffic flow data up from about 5,000 miles? Nothing. After significant quality testing, that included teams driving routes in numerous metro areas to assure accuracy, Clear Channel is going to "turn on" the data transmission of the extra miles of roads by the end of the first quarter in 2007. This upgrade, if you will, covers 92 metro areas, including new coverage in 13 new traffic flow markets, including, St. Louis and Kansas City , Missouri ; Dayton , Ohio ; Manchester , New Hampshire ; Bakersfield , California ; and others.

Recall that there can be road coverage by incident data only (alerts you when a car is broken down or the road is under construction), which does not alert you to the traffic flow on that road. Traffic flow data alerts you, usually in color coding, that the traffic is moving quickly (green), not so good (yellow), or almost stopped (red). This is the stuff that good feedback is made of, and that's why this traffic flow announcement of a 10 fold increase in coverage is a major plus for you and me (as long as you have a traffic enabled GPS).

There's another significant development here that I will explore further tomorrow, and that's the announcement that Inrix now has accumulated over 1 million miles of historical average speeds for roads across the US; that's basically every interstate down to state highways and major commuting roads. Come back tomorrow and I'll talk about where the future of traffic reporting is going.

There are two separate press releases below that talk about the increased reach of traffic flow reporting and the Clear Channel agreement that allows you to get access to all of that data and information.

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Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

January 10, 2007

Traffic Feeds via HD Radio Signal

By now, you are probably aware that some GPS devices can receive traffic feeds over the FM bandwidth (TMC Traffic) that are translated into visual representations of traffic situations, including incident reporting and traffic flow situations. At CES 2007, NAVTEQ is demonstrating the transmission of traffic feeds over HD radio waves, which just like the audio component offers a significant increase in bandwidth. This bandwidth increase will aloe more information to be sent which in turn can be changed into more personalized information for you and your GPS. Traffic coverage is set to increase and according to one report NAVTEQ is looking at using GPS equipped fleet vehicles (like Inrix does) to get more coverage than just roads equipped with sensors. With better coverage comes better information that is available, but the HD bandwidth increase should allows for more types of data display and more customized information.

Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

December 19, 2006

Traffic.com Upgrades with TrafficPro Service


Traffic.com announced that they are launching a new program to offer not only traffic reporting on sensor based roads, but they are also offering a comprehensive holistic solution that considers current traffic flow readings as well as historic data incorporation and local event considerations for a better approach to traffic understanding. Bottom line is that they are getting better at predicting traffic issues. They are also offering confidence factors, a way of offering you a read on how variable the travel times will be due to traffic. This all seems like a pretty good response to the Inrix lead on this approach. Inrix is all about two things in my mind; 1) incorporation of historical data to predict traffic across a particular route, and 2) using fleet vehicle data to gather traffic information on roads not covered by road sensors. It appears that Traffic.com has answered the competitive threat #1 above, but not #2.

Either way, this is good news for us. Traffic continues to be on the horizon for me as a killer capability for the GPS. I like it when things get better.

Full press release follows:

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Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (3) | social bookmarking

November 8, 2006

Inrix Enters European Traffic Flow Data Market

Inrix, announced today the availability of real-time traffic flow data for key cities within the United Kingdom. Data will be supplied by ITIS Holdings, the UK’s leading provider of traffic flow information and Inrix will have access to traffic for London, Manchester, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Liverpool in Q4, 2006. This appears to set the stage for Inrix to do more and more high quality traffic feed data in key markets outside the US.

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Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 6, 2006

NAVTEQ to Acquire Traffic.com


Reasonably big news in the GPS mapping and data feed world, as NAVTEQ has agreed to purchase Traffic.com, provider of traffic data feeds to media outlets around the country. The purchase price is about $179 million.

This creates an interesting situation. Inrix is also a supplier of traffic data around the US, and is in a position that many believe is superior to Traffic.com’s position, technology-wise. One has to wonder if Inrix will stay as only a traffic provider or will they join up with TeleAtlas, the other major mapping force in the world.

More from the Traffic.com Press Releas below::

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Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

October 4, 2006

Traffic.com Gets Patent for New Traffic Display on GPS

Traffic.com announced that it has been issued a patent for animated display of real-time traffic flow on maps. The patent applies to a graphical representation of a roadway system which depicts animated traffic flow. This will be interesting to see how far "Animated" goes; does it mean moving and alive, or does it mean changing in real-time. If it means the latter, then some current systems on GPS units might be covered by this patent. The third claim on the patent actually covers color coding of roadways, which is exactly what the current systems do.

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Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

October 2, 2006

What is TMC Traffic?

The TMC stands for Traffic Message Channel, and is a great way to get Traffic issues sent to your GPS via FM signals that can’t be picked up by a normal FM car stereo. TMC is a specific application of the RDS or Radio Data System for silently transmitting information like traffic and weather over FM signals. This data-only traffic signal is sent out via ClearChannel communications (in the US), with data provided by Inrix, a large aggregator of traffic information. This TMC signal gives you easy real-time warnings of tie-ups, accidents, slow traffic, and allows you and your GPS to avoid these messes, and is always on. The service is available in about 50 cities across the US. The ClearChannel System has an advantage over traffic.com based systems because it has a broader reach and can get you traffic information on more roads that the competition. Here’s why:

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Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (3) | social bookmarking

September 26, 2006

Inrix Traffic Study – Great GPS Traffic Data Covering Many More Miles

Advantage: “Dust Network.”
Why FM based and TomTom fed traffic is better than XM.

Inrix, a pioneering real time traffic data delivery company, has announced that it has independent confirmation that it delivers comparable data quality, on substantially more roads than competition: Traffic.com. In my conversation yesterday with Bryan Mistele, the CEO of Inrix, I learned quite a bit about how the Inrix system works and how we, as consumers and GPS owners, can benefit from it. What makes the two companies' systems different is that Traffic.com relies on road sensors, only. The Inrix model takes a different approach and takes the road sensor data as well as aggregating data from over 620,000 GPS equipped fleet vehicles that transmit traffic conditions on the road, even if it doesn’t have a traffic sensor on the road. This is the key to getting more road coverage, extending down onto surface roads that are not often covered by traffic sensors.

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Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (4) | social bookmarking

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