Basking Ridge, N.J. — Verizon Wireless could become the first U.S. carrier to integrate real-time and historical traffic data into its cellular-based navigation service.
In April, the carrier launches version four of its VZ Navigator service, enabling consumers in 75 cities to wirelessly access traffic information and find detours around traffic congestion and accidents. Additional cities will be added in the coming year.
In addition, the new VZ Navigator adds a 3-D perspective [windshield] view, a movie and events finder, weather reports and forecasts, and gas prices at nearby gas stations, thanks to data integrator Networks In Motion. Traffic data is provided to the integrator from Nav Teq.
The carrier expects that almost all of its Verizon Navigator-equipped phones will take advantage of the new services following an over-the-air upgrade, a spokesman said. Windows Mobile smartphones and BlackBerrys will get their upgrades later in the year.
In the initial 75 cities, a driver’s route will be calculated using historical and real-time traffic information. The historical information includes whether traffic is affected by traffic lights, heavy traffic or school zones. The historical data covers over 750,000 miles of roads in 48 states across the nation, making travel-time estimates more accurate.
Traffic incident information will tell customers how traffic is flowing and about reported accidents, disabled vehicles and congestion. NIM’s Traffic Tracking Center monitors conditions along subscribers’ routes and sends alerts to drivers about conditions ahead of them on their chosen routes. Detour options allow for comparison of estimated arrival time and conditions before a new route is selected.
The other new features are:
3-D windshield view to display maps from angles customers would see through car windshields, making it easier to visualize turn-by-turn directions;
a gas finder, providing customers with information on the location of nearby gas stations, including prices at many gas stations; once a station is selected by a subscriber, VZ Navigator provides turn-by-turn directions; and
weather conditions and forecasts based on the phone’s location, making it unnecessary to type in an address.
Version 4 service will be available for $9.99 for unlimited monthly access or $2.99 for one-day use.