July 14, 2009

Airsage Adds Verizon Handsets - Boost to Covered Miles


The Battle Royale of traffic providers continues to drive interest amoung our readers, and Airsage just made a big deal to add Verizon wireless handsets to their list of providers who offer anonymous mobile phone movement data to help understand traffic flow patterns across the nation. Airsage has been providing this information to outlets like Google Maps, where you can see their coverage down to secondary roads around major cities. That coverage is impressive, which will now extend to "200,000 centerline miles of roadway" by quadrupling the number of traffic status information bursts from these handsets. The concern is and always will be quality of data; let's face it, coverage doesn't mean anything if the data is inaccurate. With the Verizon Guy behind Airsage, one has to imagine that the quality will take a big jump on these covered roads.

Inrix, Traffic.com and TrafficCast are other major traffic providers in the space that use various data gathering techniques to capture, analyze and even predict traffic patterns around you. See more info on traffic providers in our Traffic Section.

Press Release Below - Thanks Jim or sending in.

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

July 2, 2009

Traffic Subscriptions could Jump 10X by 2014

Interesting news bit out that is reporting iSupply data indicates that there is a boom ahead of us in real time traffic reporting subscriptions. Yes, I know you knew that, but now the rest of the world does too. The expectations are that the subscriber base could grow by 10X versus today to 51 million in 2014, up from about 4.6 million today. Revenue could jump to $1.3Bil from a little over $100 million today.

It's no surprise that people are interested in this, but what is driving it is the very real change that we are seeing in the delivery of traffic solutions and how data is being utilized, refined and sent out to the ever increasing legion of navigation solutions. things have changed and a next generation solution is taking shape. I wrote about some of the barriers that would be falling back in January 2007, to create a bigger, better traffic reporting solution, and for the most part, we are now seeing all of that coming to fruition.

1) High quality databases using historical traffic data are in use - just consider the TomTom IQ Routes next time you buy a TomTom, or use any resource that uses the Inrix data systems.

2) Increase in coverage and flow capabilities - the increase is there, but not to the point that we all have access to flow data on secondary roads which is what I really want. It is present in some higher end traffic databases though.

3) Bandwidth - TomTom LIVE (Go 740 in US) has cellular connections as does TeleNav Shotgun for high bandwidth two-way data transfer; result is more detailed and more accurate assessment of the traffic issues ahead. Furthermore, you are starting to see high quality mobile phone applications roll into the market with traffic feeds; plenty of bandwidth to grab not only data but over the air delivery of maps on some of them.

I think that the building blocks are there for this reported leap in the subscriber base, but I would like to see better application of the traffic database to the end product on secondary roads across more devices, as well as the higher end units roll down their capabilities for Go 740/Shotgun caliber traffic to the mass market units to enable the subscription market to take off.

ReadMore at TWICE

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

July 1, 2009

NAVTEQ - Upgraded Traffic.com Site for Mobile Phone Use

Traffic.com has upgraded to include a mobile friendly site online to help you deal with the woes of traffic. The site mirrors that functionality online of it's regular site where you can not only get a quick view of traffic in your area, but login and get your Jam Factors and overviews of what your critical drives might look like.

I use Traffic.com to store a couple of drives (work related) and they email me daily the situation on the roads, with estimated drive times and traffic congestion levels - the Jam Factor. After accommodating for the fact that the data arrives just after 7AM, and I generally get on the road about a half hour later, the email alerts are good enough to give me a good look into what the overall traffic situation is. With the Mobile data, you'll have this type of insight and of course the little maps there too to help you deal with the traffic.

Set up an account at Traffic.com, then head over to Mobi.traffic.com for the full benefits. Or just head over to the mobile website straight away to check it out.

Full press release below.

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

June 29, 2009

Inrix to Report Traffic for Homeland Security

The next time there's a Homeland Security drill, they will be avoiding heavy traffic and traffic incidents using the Inrix data and capabilities to help speed the response. The data will be used by GeoDecisions' IRRIS portal to help the military and Homeland security with accurate traffic flow and incident reporting.

"With the ability to access INRIX's comprehensive yet precise traffic information, customers using GeoDecisions' IRRIS portal will be better able to anticipate traffic congestion and hazardous road conditions and plan or adapt their routes accordingly," said Bryan Mistele, INRIX president and CEO. "Together with GeoDecisions we are helping the U.S. military and Homeland Security optimize their logistical operations to ensure they have the safest and most efficient means available for transportation routing."

This comes on the heels of Inrix being selected to provide data to TomTom as part of their LIVE capabilities in the US.

Full Press Release below.....

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June 19, 2009

TomTom Picks Inrix

In an about face, TomTom has selected Inrix to power their dynamic feeds for it's Plus and LIVE services going forward. Originally, TomTom did not select Inrix as their provider of traffic for the US, but have decided that the package of quality data from Inrix is worth the switch. This is not the first time Inrix has come in and taken over for what appear to be higher quality, more desirable coverage or feeds - it happened last year in Alabama, where Inrix essentially saved their traffic broadcast program that sounded like it was dead in the water.

Inrix will provide the traffic feed, and gas prices feed to LIVE and Plus services across the country.

Full Press Release below.....

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April 30, 2009

Inrix Triples Flow Coverage - over 160,000 Miles in 126 Markets

Inrix has upped coverage again but this time for the flow enabled roads. So, while they cover incident and status on many more miles across the US, they are reporting that they now cover over 160,000 miles of roads for flow information. This is key to figuring out more precise travel time information, allowing your device or software service to get more accurate information on which to base routing and travel time decisions.

You may have seen the announcement Monday of Microsoft selecting INRIX traffic to enhance its voice-activated local search service, Live Search 411. Consumers can access this expanded coverage data through hundreds of applications and portable navigation devices such as the new Ford SYNC with Traffic, Direction and Information, MapQuest, AT&T Navigator and TomTom.

Full Press Release after the jump......

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April 5, 2009

TrafficCast Snags TomTom GO 740 LIVE Service

This hit the wire last week, that TomTom has selected TrafficCast for the traffic service that will roll out with the TomTom GO 740 LIVE that is now available.

OK did this surprise you? Yea, it surprised me, as well as a lot of readers who wrote in. The presumptive leader in traffic is Inrix, and to not have them a part of something this big, is a bit of a surprise. Kudos to TrafficCast for the work to get this, and the complex data crunching of their DynaFlow 2.0 engine will be offering traffic reads for the new connected TomTom GO in the US. For more insight into how TrafficCast works, check out my Q&A a few months ago with TrafficCast CEO Connie Li. I look forward to checking it out on the new TomTom.

Full Press Release below

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

March 11, 2009

Faster HD Traffic Signal Test Works - Better Updates

A recent test has proven that a new faster algorithm can deliver faster downloads to HD raio based traffic receivers making HD radio able to pull down the data feed 10 times faster than RDS/TMC based feeds to regular GPS units. The fatter pipe is the difference between getting generic announcements "Accident" and the potential for more relevant information - "Traffic Accident Right Lane near Exit #3". The advancement also leaves space for finer slices on road traffic conditions, giving a more detailed look at what parts of the road are jammed and what is not. It will also allow for traffic prediction capability, something that is available from major suppliers, but has yet to work its way into a mainstay GPS unit.

The recent test was conducted with a new specially equipped BMW, in Philly, where it was able to download signals quickly and completely offering a fast download speed and complete picture of the traffic situation. The new digital format is 10 times faster than RDS/TMC - FM based signals, while the older digital format is only 4 times faster. Look for availability later this year.


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February 25, 2009

Inrix: Traffic Congestion Down - Follows the Economy Downward

Inrix has given us a report card for traffic in 2008, and the results are in; traffic congestion is down and it's not surprisingly tied to the economy and high gas prices. People aren't working - not driving to the job, they aren't buying - aren't driving to the store; goods aren't ordered for the store - they aren't shipped from the warehouse; and as a result, they aren't made - fewer raw materials shipped..... an on and on. You get it. I've seen it myself on the Boston roads.

The congestion is down and down dramatically:

  • National congestion was lower every hour of every day in 2008 versus the year prior, 30 percent lower on average depending on the hour and day.

  • 99 of the 100 regions studied saw congestion levels decrease. Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with a 6 percent increase in overall congestion, was the only region with an increase from 2007, shooting up in the metropolitan rankings from 47th to 33rd in overall congestion.

  • Friday from 5 to 6 p.m. remained America's most congested hour of the week, although the Travel Time Index (TTI) fell 23 percent. Thursday from 5 to 6 p.m. ranked as the next most congested hour.

  • National congestion levels were essentially the same when comparing the first and second halves of 2008, suggesting that higher fuel prices in early 2008 and the slower economy later in the year netted the same drop in overall congestion.

  • Wednesday saw the biggest drop in congestion, with a 31 percent overall decrease in peak hours.

    The report cautions becoming lax in pushing forth infrastructure developments due to the decrease in congestion this year, because when the economy improves and if fuel prices remain affordable, traffic will likely increase again.

    "While we all should cheer the reduction in congestion in 2008, we should be under no illusion that this is permanent," said Rick Schuman, vice president of public sector, INRIX. "We must still continue to focus energies on policies and methods to reduce traffic."

    The second annual National Traffic Scorecard was created through extensive analysis of nearly 50,000 miles of primary roadways in major metropolitan areas, selected from INRIX's traffic data warehouse of over 800,000 miles of roadways and 120 real-time markets in the U.S.

    Top 10 Worst Traffic Cities
    1. Los Angeles, California
    2. New York, New York
    3. Chicago, Illinois
    4. Dallas, Texas
    5. Washington, DC
    6. Houston, Texas
    7. San Francisco, California
    8. Boston, Massachusetts
    9. Seattle, Washington
    10. Minneapolis, Minnesota

    Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking
  • February 24, 2009

    GPS-Monitored Car Based Fees

    With President Obama's transportation secretary LaHood hinting at a mile based usage fees in the recent days, there will continue to be focus put on the subject. The idea is not new and it has several studies and tests going on globally, with a few right here in the US.

    The idea is to monitor road usage via GPS, and institute a time of day based variable fee. Peak times get higher fee rates, while off-peak hours get lower fee rates.

    According to this article at a Euro blog, Inside GNSS a test in the US was successful at reducing congestion on the roads and reduced overall mileage driven. The savings is big for governments alike, who would not have to invest in new roads to handle the ever-increasing congestion. My hunch is that the fees would be pretty attractive and addictive, while the savings in congestion would be temporary until you achieved steady state again and started to climb as the overall system get acquainted with the new costs of doing business. For commuters who head to a job, there may not be a lot of flexibility to target the lower fee rates, but there may be the ability to lower the impact; I'd try to work from home one more day a week. Tough to do if you are a construction worker - and someone who isn't exactly in the best position to absorb more taxes.

    Governments would have a hard time moving to this system alone, and leaving a gas tax behind, as the gas tax is a significant tool to impart the will of a "greener than thou" government will, on its constituents. I happen to think reduced gas consumption is a good thing, and I think low gas prices is just not where we need to be long term with the current global challenges. In my mind leaving a gas tax behind is sending the wrong message.

    My hunch is that we'll see a combination of systems in the coming years. More on this at the upcoming symposium on Mileage based user fees at the Texas Transportation institute.

    Scott Martin at Permalink | Comments (2) | social bookmarking

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