January 8, 2008

NAVTEQ to work with Intellinav on Advanced Traffic GPS


NAVTEQ announced that Netropa is ready to put out its latest Intellinav models with both NAVTEQ(R) maps and NAVTEQ TRAFFIC PATTERNS. The new addition to the Intellinav line is the first PND to utilize NAVTEQ TRAFFIC PATTERNS, a rich database of historic traffic information. Finally, Historical Average Speeds appear ready to hit the market in the coming year.

"Intellinav? Who Cares?" - I Do.

You know, NAVTEQ, the Map supplier to Garmin? That's why this is significant. Don't get me wrong, I would love to use the Intellinav device, but to me this signals that the capability to launch a more sophisticated traffic unit by Garmin and other major providers of GPS systems.

Historical Average Speeds are important because they allow the GPS device to recognize that highway speeds frequently don't go at posted speeds during rush hour, so taking historic speeds into account, the unit will be able to better route you when traffic is a factor. Historic Average Speeds can be had for most major roads.

More on IntelliNav after the jump...

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Navteq - Traffic via HD Radio, Mobile Phones

Setting the stage for what may become the year of the Smart GPS, traffic updates are finally looking like they are going to take the steps we have talked about for some time to jump into a new generation of higher bandwidth and more useful alters and data.

Navteq has announced that they are ready to provide traffic information, weather and other location based information via an HD Radio stream. There was a trial of this capability last June, and one had to think that this was coming sooner than later. Using the HD Radio stream, allows them to send a lot more data to the units, meaning richer flow data (color coded roads, slow, medium fast flow), and more reason codes than the standard number offered on the RDS system.

In related news, NAVTEQ announced that they will offer a new application that will deliver traffic updates, over mobile phones. The product is being demoed at CES.

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December 20, 2007

Traffic.com Driving Directions with Traffic Avoidances


Traffic.com started up a Beta test of some new features that is starting to show off what's tom come in the world of traffic avoidances. Now if I can just take it with me when I drive.....

Traffic.com is demonstrating how you can take into account current traffic flow conditions in areas with a broad set of traffic flow monitors to determine what the best route is right now, taking into account the current traffic conditions.

"Direct Drive"
Click on the image above to enlarge the image so that you can see the system offers you the "Direct Drive" with base time plus delay time for a total of 1 hour and 56 minutes. This route is in Blue.

"Fastest Now"
The optimized route in pink is estimated to take 1 hour and 13 minutes to make the trip from San Fernando to Long Beach in the middle of rush hour. The "Fastest Now" route takes you in a round about way to your location minimizing your travel time and your traffic headaches. The issue arises when a new accident comes up, or something similar and you are already on the road.

What's Next?
I'd love to see some more sophistication that would include Historical Average Speeds so that you know that if you leave in an hour you're still in a mess, but in two hour's time, things start to clear up.... Then bundle all of that on a stand alone GPS that is connected, and what do you have? The Dash Express that I rode around with last week.

I think that 2008 is going to be the year traffic took off.

Thanks Jim for sending this in.

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December 18, 2007

TMC Traffic City and Road Coverage


GPS Lodge reader Rob pointed out that it can be hard to find out about TMC Traffic coverage for most GPS units, and so I thought it would be good to point out coverage for the US is limited to the top 65 or so metro areas in the US.

The data is fed to Clear Channel from their data provider Inrix, which is then sent out as a data feed on the FM spectrum. Your GPS will pick it up if it has the TMC traffic feature and you have a trial or paid subscription to the service. The coverage was upped earlier this year, so that more roadways around cities were added as well as initiating new coverage on other cities. The same data feed provides coverage to Garmin, TomTom (TMC and TomTom PLUS services via mobile phone), Mio, Navigon, etc.

One of the better maps (shown above – click for a larger version) I have seen is at Garmin’s support and sign-up pages for TMC. It's not totally up to date, but it's pretty clear.

Head over to the Garmin website, and you will see a complete list of covered cities. Most cities have a pop-up map for road coverage (roads covered are shown in a red hue) around major cities. You can also check coverage at the Total Traffic Network site.

Read More on Traffic information and coverage topics or a primer on TMC Traffic here at GPSLodge.com

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December 10, 2007

Garmin to buy Inrix?

An analyst thinks that Garmin is going to make a play for Inrix, the often mentioned here traffic information provider to the TMC traffic service. Making the argument, the analyst for ABI assumes that Garmin wants the leverage in the market. Not so sure that’s true, as they just signed a long extension with NAVTEQ, owner of Traffic.com.

While the theory may or may not be on the mark, the article does provide some validation on an idea that traffic services is going to be big. Specifically, this research says that traffic services could be a multi-billion dollar a year business within a decade.

I continue to see signs that we are about to get a lot more capability not only in GPS, but online and through mobile phones. The market is ripe for a better way to beat traffic is be aware of what issues lie ahead.

Accurate travel time estimations require better knowledge of primary and secondary road speeds. Getting that information requires reporting on that data through road sensors, GPS equipped vehicles that can report back on their travel times (think delivery trucks), and anonymous mobile phone data.

There are three basic ways to collect traffic data:

Road Sensors – strips or radar type guns monitor volume and speed along a highway. Oldest form of technology.

GPS Probe Data – Vehicles equipped with GPS and two way communication can report back road speed data. Think taxi’s and delivery trucks.

Mobile Phone Monitoring – As the millions of mobile phones travel down roads, they report back to cell towers and that information is stripped of the owner’s ID, aggregated and passed on as speed and traffic incident reporting. Newest form of data collection.

As you would imagine it’s a numbers and technology game. If you can turn the hundreds of millions of phones out there into usable data, it will be a powerful tool.

The big players are:

Inrix – road sensors, and GPS “probe” data helps it report on a vast amount of roadways.

Traffic.com – road sensors primarily and now GPS probe data; now owned by NAVTEQ

AirSage – Sees how fast anonymous mobile phone users are traveling down a road to deliver data.

IntelliOne – Similar to AirSage uses anonymous mobile phone data to map road speeds. See their demonstration on Tampa Florida to get an idea of how this works on a vast series of roadways.

Want to read more? Check out all of my posts on Traffic.


Thanks to Jim for sending in the article.

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

December 6, 2007

IntelliOne Traffi Demo - Wow.

So, how about anonymous mobile phone data feeding up to the minute traffic information to make your life better?

Intellione is hosting a demo of Tampa, FL that is pretty impressive. You'll have to check it out. Google Maps Mash-up that allows you to zoom in on roads and see speeds; click on the road and you get the average speed and the number of handsets that are measuring the speed there.

When you hit the demo, click on the Google Traffic button to see the difference in coverage.

Can I get that to feed the TomTom HD device?

Press Release Follows....

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November 16, 2007

Inrix Traffic Prediction Capability on deCarta's LBS Platforms

Inrix announced a partnership with deCarta that should speed some predictive traffic capability to end-users (you and me). This would allow us to take a look at what traffic patterns WILL BE not what they are now, when you want to travel. So it takes into consideration historical information and cuccrent conditions to predict that traffic will be slow in the rain this afternoon at the middle of rush hour, instead of the naïve idea that road speeds will be the same as the posted speed limit (how most GPS units run right now).

The Inrix data will be available on deCarta’s Traffic Manager on their Drill Down Server platform…. I’ll try to let you know when this makes it to an end user product.

press release follows...

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Sirius Satellite Radio Traffic Services - "Travel Link"

Sirius is getting into the data feed game, and will provide traffic feeds to new Ford and Lincoln vehicles under the name Travel Link. Not only will you get real time traffic fed to the device, but you will get weather, sports scores, fuel prices and movie information.

Might not seem like a lot, but this is definitely a change; more availability of traffic information means more demand for better services. I think that traffic information is the next level of excellent after navigation for an in car GPS. The issue right now is that the data distribution system (TMC and MSN Direct) has limited bandwidth. With more bandwidth comes more data, and after talking with key traffic data providers, there’s plenty of data to be had. I’ve written a lot on traffic capabilities, and have laid out some key advances that are needed and what a traffic service may look like with better technology. Increased bandwidth is one of the pillars of this capability.

Look for Sirius Traffic Link on Ford and Mercury vehicles equipped with 8-inch touch screen navigators in the 2008 model year. The vehicle comes with 6-month trial subscription to the service.

Thanks Jim for sending this in.

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

November 5, 2007

Traffic.com Target of Congressional Investigation?

Traffic.com, the new subsidiary of NAVTEQ, the target of a takeover by Nokia...... is the target of a possible investigation by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee' subcommittee on highways and Transit; whew!

Anyway, according to Motherjones.com: "Under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), in more than a decade the politically connected Traffic.com has received over $50 million in sole-source government contracts to establish data-collection systems in at least 25 metropolitan areas. The stated goal of the program is to help state and local agencies manage traffic flow on increasingly congested roads. But the main beneficiary, according to critics, has been Traffic.com itself... Traffic.com reserves much of the most valuable data for sale directly to consumers through the web and vehicle-based systems."

Well; don't know if it's true, but I'll be happy to take that data and skip traffic jams, thank you. We'll keep you posted.

Via Rich at GPSTracklog

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November 2, 2007

Inrix Secures $15Mil in Funding

Inrix has received some extra funding, $15Mil. to pursue the traffic data feed space. With the markets set to explode over the coming years, they seem well positioned with a vast coverage network in the US, an agreement to feed data to TMC connected GPS units (as well as the TomTom Plus feed through the mobile phone network), they are also setting up shop in Europe. With the Europeans more tuned into GPS usage (penetration of GPS users is much higher there), and the fact that they deal with traffic a lot with the population density there, I would expect that they would be very receptive to better coverage and better prediction of the traffic landscape.

When do we get a GPS with their National Average Speeds product? Well, Dash is coming to market soon (Q1 2008), and has already announced a partnership with Inrix, and Inrix followed up this press release below with the statement saying: “Several other major customers have been signed and will be formally announced in the coming months.” Can't wait.

Press Release Follows…

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