TomTom Starts To License HD Traffic Service In U.S.

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TomTom will 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, company co-founder/CEO Harold Goddjin announced.

The Netherlands-based company said it’s on a 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 there 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.

• and 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, TomTom 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 100 markets, based on the number of FM stations broadcasting traffic data.

Another HD Traffic feature is the delivery of traffic updates every two minutes, the company said. As a result, drivers don’t receive information about “ghost jams” that have already cleared up, TomTom said.

For its part, Clear Channel said its RDSand HD Radio-delivered traffic services send out updates every two minutes as well, although the bandwidth-constricted RDS services sends out fewer event updates every two minutes.


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