San Antonio, Texas — Clear Channel, which provides real-time traffic to GPS makers such as Garmin, TomTom and BMW, announced it is expanding its market coverage for its traffic service, with the capability to reach 92 markets, almost double its current coverage.
To achieve the expanded coverage, Clear Channel is using traffic information collected by commercial trucks and cars already on the road that are equipped with some form of location device so they can broadcast their speed of travel as they drive. These are known as “probe vehicles.” The probe data is supplied by Kirkland, Wash.-based Inrix.
Most real-time traffic reports rely mainly on road sensors but these are available only in 20 to 30 U.S. markets so the coverage is limited, explained Inrix president/CEO Bryan Mistele. Inrix adds traffic-speed data from close to 625,000 probe vehicles and pools this data with road-sensor data and other traffic-information sources. This allows traffic coverage of more than 50,000 miles of roadway.
Clear Channel has conducted “ground truth testing” to verify the speed data in each of the new markets for the past two months, and will begin to “turn on” new cities starting at the end of the first quarter. Clear Channel currently covers 49 metropolitan areas and would not say how many it will add at the end of the quarter.