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

GO 2535 M LIVE

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

·         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.


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