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TomTom To License HD Traffic Service In U.S.

New York –


plans to license out its cellular-delivered
HD (High Density) Traffic service to other consumer-product companies for use
in OEM and aftermarket navigation systems, smartphones, competing-brand
portable navigation devices (PNDs), and other CE devices.

Co-founder/CEO Harold Goddjin also
announced yesterday the Netherlands-based company will offer the technology to
government agencies and enterprises with fleets of vehicles as part of what it
calls its long-term “Mission to Reduce Traffic For All.”

The service is already available in
18 other countries, mostly in Europe, and has reduced travel times in those
countries by up to 15 percent, Goddjin said.

Also to boost U.S. takeup of HD
Traffic, TomTom:

extended the service, previously available only on
the new $349-suggested

2535 M

, to two other previously available cellular-equipped PNDs. Those
models, the GO 740 LIVE and XL 340 LIVE, previously received a less robust traffic

reduced the price of cellular-delivered GO LIVE
service, which includes traffic data, to an annual $59.95, a 50 percent
reduction. Like before, a free 12-month subscription is included with the
purchase of a compatible TomTom PND.

LIVE services include Google Local
Search, fuel price updates, and five-day weather forecasts.

As part of the LIVE service, TomTom’s HD Traffic delivers
traffic updates more frequently than such competing traffic services as Clear Channel’s FM-RDS (RDS-TMC)
TMC and FM-HD Radio-delivered traffic services, and it covers far more markets
and delivers traffic information about more roadways within those markets than
the rival services, the company said.

HD Traffic monitors traffic on 6 million miles of primary
and secondary roads, including roads in rural areas, and it delivers the
information to consumers anywhere AT&T’s GPRS cellular-data coverage
extends, said senior product manager Mike Villarreal. In contrast, the RDS-TMC
and HD Radio services, as well as rival cellular-based services, use a traffic
database limited to no more than 500,000 miles of roadways, and they do not
cover nearly as many secondary roads, he said. In addition, radio-based traffic
services are available only in about 110 markets, based on the number of FM
stations broadcasting traffic data.

Another HD Traffic advantage is the delivery of traffic
updates every two minutes compared to radio-station-based updates that arrive
about every 15 minutes, the company said. As a result, drivers don’t receive
information about “ghost jams” that have already cleared up, TomTom said.

For its service, TomTom collects real-time traffic-flow
information from users of cellular-equipped TomTom PNDs, iPhones outfitted with
TomTom navigation software, and navigation-equipped fleet vehicles. Traffic-incident
data is collected from third parties.

The real-time information is used by TomTom PNDs to
calculate the fastest route to a destination. As with other TomTom PNDs, route
calculations are also based on historical speeds on roads by time of day and
day of week.

TomTom’s service also covers more markets than
satellite-radio-delivered Sirius Traffic, which delivers traffic-incident and
traffic-flow information in more than 100 markets in the U.S. and Canada, the
Sirius XM web site says. The service delivers information about primary
freeways and interstates in those markets as well as “local information in
select markets,” the web site adds.

Clear Channel provided the following details about the traffic data that it delivers to navigation systems via RDS-equipped radio stations and via HD Radio stations:
Via RDS and via HD Radio, Clear Channel sends information every two minutes, not every 15 minutes as mentioned by Tom Tom, the company said. Over HD Radio, Clear Channel sends information on more than 500 events every two minutes, while the RDS-sent data sends about 50 events every two minutes.

Clear Channel delivers traffic data in 105 U.S. markets via RDS and in 91 U.S. markets via HD Radio. Clear Channels database covers 160,000 miles of U.S. roads in those markets, including many secondary rods, the company said.