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XM Expands NavTraffic

Washington —XM Satellite Radio today announced that it will add nine U.S. metro markets to its XM NavTraffic real-time traffic update system for GPS navigation systems, bringing the total coverage to 31 markets, up from 22 markets.

In addition, XM said that NavTraffic will be available on the new 2007 Acura RDX, and it announced that Infiniti will become the third car company to support NavTraffic. Currently, Acura offers the service on the 2006 RL, and General Motors offers it on the 2006 Cadillac CTS.

During the first quarter, XM will add NavTraffic service in the new markets of Cincinnati; Cleveland; Denver-Boulder; Milwaukee-Racine; Portland, Ore.; Providence-Warwick-Pawtucket, R.I.; Sacramento, Calif.; San Antonio; and Wilmington, Del.

NavTraffic provides an overlay of color-coded traffic flow information on the map of a navigation system, indicating how fast the traffic is moving on a driver’s chosen route. The traffic data is aggregated by NAVTEQ from multiple data sources, including police and emergency services, commercial traffic data providers and road sensors.

Sirius has a competing real-time traffic service, also in 31 markets, it said, which was launched in Dec. 2005. The first car navigation system to work with the service is just now beginning to ship from Alpine (called the NVE-N872A).XM’s NavTraffic has been supported by Pioneer after-market products since mid-last year. Garmin and Alpine are also offering compatible products and Audiovox has announced a future product.

Clear Channel Communications is a third real-time traffic provider supported by several aftermarket suppliers and cellular phone companies including Nextel, Verizon TomTom , Audiovox, Garmin, Cobra and an upcoming product from Kenwood. Clear Channel provides service in 48 markets.

XM says NavTraffic can help drivers save on gas and time. Roderick MacKenzie, XM’s advanced applications and services VP, said, “Americans now waste a staggering 2 billion gallons of fuel each year due to traffic congestion — a statistic that XM NavTraffic aims to help reduce.”

In addition to the nine new markets, NavTraffic is currently available in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, San Diego, San Francisco/Oakland, San Jose, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa and Washington.

NavTraffic costs $3.99 per month when packaged with a basic XM subscription of $12.95 a month.