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GPS Real-Time Traffic Improves

Kirkland, Wash. — Inrix, which provides real-time traffic information to most portable GPS makers, said it has improved the reliability and scope of its traffic reports to the point where they are now 85 percent to 95 percent reliable vs. 80 percent to 85 percent reliable as of 18 months ago.

The company said it has tripled its coverage, from monitoring 55,000 miles of roadways, to 160,000 miles, and broadened its coverage area to 126 metropolitan markets, or 250 million people in North America, and now including major cities in Canada.

The new Inrix data will be available in the updated Ford Sync that debuts next month and may be included in Internet-connected PNDs from companies such as TomTom, TeleNav and Best Buy (under its Insignia house brand).

Inrix collects road-speed data from more than 1 million vehicles (commercial fleets and consumer vehicles) that are equipped with GPS monitoring devices to create its traffic reports. Road-speed changes are reported to Inrix within a minute and then broadcast to drivers within two minutes thereafter, claimed Scott Sedlik, VP product marketing.

Eighteen months ago, the speed changes took eight to 10 minutes to reach Inrix, he said.

Previously, Inrix data covered major highways, but it now also includes arterial roadways that are helpful for re-routing around traffic jams.   Without knowledge of the secondary roads, a GPS might simply reroute you into worse traffic.

More than 10 million people now subscribe to real-time traffic in the U.S., about four times the number of subscribers in 2008 said Sedlik. The statistic includes users of cellphones, personal navigation devices and in-dash navigation.