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INRIX Predicting Future Traffic

Jun
26
2007

A common point of discussion when people first start using a navigation device or service is “That route might be the fastest without traffic, but nobody in their right mind would go that route at this time of the day!” And they certainly have a valid point. Navigation systems tend to be optimistic and base their time estimates on a “no traffic” situation. Live, subscription based traffic services try to overcome that hurdle by looking at the live traffic situation. But those services alone have a few limitations.

By building up a database of historical traffic levels for each road segment across different times of day, different days of the week, and different seasons, INRIX can do a pretty good job of predicting what traffic levels might be on each road segment in the future.

For example looking at the live traffic information right now isn’t going to tell me how long my trip to Boston’s Logan Airport will take me tomorrow morning during the rush-hour commute. And even when I get into my car early tomorrow morning most of those services won’t tell me that traffic will be much different an hour into my route than it is when I leave at 6:00 am. If only there was a time machine to look forward at what the traffic will be. But what if you could look into the past, and predict what the traffic will be in the future?

Enter INRIX. They take a different approach to estimating travel time. By building up a database of historical traffic levels for each road segment across different times of day, different days of the week, and different seasons, INRIX can do a pretty good job of predicting what traffic levels might be on each road segment in the future. Combine that predictive traffic information with current incidents, accidents, and construction and you end up with an estimated travel time which is much more accurate.

Mobile phone users running the Telmap Navigator system now have access to the INRIX data. (They are also the company behind MapQuest Navigator.)

“We selected INRIX to deliver a traffic information solution that can provide the broadest market coverage and highest-quality traffic information available on any mobile mapping and navigation application,” said Oren Nissim, CEO of Telmap.

Telmap Navigator runs on a variety phone platforms such as Symbian, Java, BREW, Windows and BlackBerry. The service provides turn by turn driving directions with voice prompts on compatible devices. Estimated travel times now include the INRIX predictive traffic speed data.

I can’t wait for predictive travel time data to start appearing on more services and PNDs.

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