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Garmin Offers Ad Supported Traffic

San Francisco — Garmin will allow advertising in its traffic reports for personal navigation devices (PNDs), it said during the CTIA show here.

The ads are delivered through map provider Navteq. The service creates the financial basis for Garmin’s recently announced free lifetime traffic offering on PNDs starting as low as $299.

Under the service ads appear only during traffic displays, said a Garmin spokesman. They are shown as a “bar” at the bottom of the screen with a name such as “Walgreen’s Drug stores.” The user can click on the ad to navigate to it, but Garmin does not allow users to do so while driving, due to safety issues.

Navteq delivers advertising, along with the traffic content, over its RDS network.

“By providing customers like Garmin an advertising-based revenue model in conjunction with RDS traffic data delivery, we believe that more drivers will have access to the most up-to-date traffic information to better manage their daily commutes,” said John MacLeod, Navteq executive VP.

Garmin models offering the ad-supported, free traffic includes several PNDs in the entry-level Nuvi 200 series and the step-up Nuvi 700 series, which ships this October.

Garmin is the first to offer an ad-supported service for traffic in the United States, said Navteq.