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TomTom Route Planner

Dec
3
2008

TomTom has released a beta version of a new Route Planner website. Through the Route planner you can get live traffic information, plan routes using IQ Routes data as well as MapShare updates. You can access the service from routes.tomtom.com.

I haven’t been approved for the beta yet, but we’ll post along more information as we get it. 😉

31 Responses


  1. So they’ve now logged “every road in Europe and North America at least 10 times” with specific speeds for every day and time. Hmmm. . .

    Wonder what my street says. My wife drives like a bat outa %*@%

    I also don’t understand how the HDTraffic reporting is going to help anyone. By the time you’ve loaded the route via your computer, loaded up your car, get on the road, etc, the traffic situation will have obviously changed.

    gatorguy - December 3rd, 2008
  2. If the traffic situation changes, those will come over the HD traffic receiver. Right?

    Tim - December 3rd, 2008
  3. What HD traffic receiver? Only the 940 (Europe) offers it, and TomTom has indicated they have no current plan to make the HD receiver available to older models, nor any availabilty of the 940 for North America.

    gatorguy - December 4th, 2008
  4. I was referring to the HD traffic receiver, but the same comment is valid for RDS-TMC traffic or TomTom traffic.

    Tim - December 4th, 2008
  5. Which makes it no different from standard traffic reporting. That’s why I still don’t understand why HD traffic consideration in route planning would make any difference at all, other than perhaps misleading you into avoiding what would normally be the fastest route because of a traffic issue that will likely change before you ever get to it.

    gatorguy - December 4th, 2008
  6. So how would you propose they change their program? Not to show live traffic on their route building site? How would that increase the value of the system? If I’m sitting here in my office right now about to drive into Boston for a meeting, I do want to know what the traffic situation is like right now.

    Tim - December 4th, 2008
  7. Not saying it’s never useful, but I consider it typical TomTom trumpeting of a marginally useful (at best) feature. IQRoutes being included is absolutely good. Including HDTraffic is simply marketing IMO, just to increase interest in the service. I’ve never doubted their marketing prowess.

    BTW, this sounds more like Infama and me going back and forth. LOL!!

    gatorguy - December 4th, 2008
  8. Yeah, go get Infama and tell him to jump in? So if I’m reading you correctly, you would then also have to say that having live traffic information in Google Maps or MSN Maps is a useless marketing ploy?

    Tim - December 4th, 2008
  9. Correct. Those without any traffic service at all might think they are getting some benefit, but in reality not so much. For short 20 mile or less trips where traffic might still be valid and you’re leaving immediately, maybe a benefit.

    gatorguy - December 4th, 2008
  10. After reading the press release, I see where they’re going with this. It’s not really aimed at TomTom users from the way I read it, and maybe makes even more sense, especially from a marketing standpoint:

    “Users who do not have a navigation device can now also benefit from our high-quality routing before starting their journey, giving them a chance to plan their day more efficiently than ever before”.

    Depending on the success and feedback from the BETA programme, the
    TomTom online Route Planner will gradually be rolled out to users
    worldwide. The route planner is currently available in six languages
    including English, French, German, Dutch, Italian and Spanish.

    * The online Route Planner will feature HD Traffic in the Netherlands,
    France, Germany, Switzerland and the UK. In other countries, TomTom’s
    original traffic service (based on GPRS and TMC) may be included
    depending on availability.

    gatorguy - December 4th, 2008
  11. Gatorguy, I think you don’t understand the underlying technology of HDtraffic, the traffic data is close to real-time because it is based on the position data of cell phone users of the largest cell phone provider in Europe, called Vodafone. And since the data is based on cell phones it is much more granular then traditional traffic information, i.e. it litterally includes an order of a magnitude more roads then what you can get from the DOTs in your state/city. The example he gives of a road inside Amsterdam, is a local street that would have never been reported in any traffic information service, and we all know how long you can get stuck in the middle of a congested city.

    Mafferik - December 6th, 2008
  12. I’m pretty current with the HD service and issues. In Europe (for those few countries with HDTraffic support) and with a short trip, traffic reporting may in fact have some benefit. Driving from Brussels to Frankfort, I don’t see much if any benefit from including current traffic conditions in my advance route planning. In fact it may result in a much slower route than what otherwise would have been just fine. Now if your argument is that HDTraffic reporting itself is a huge step up from RDS-TMC, with that I’ll agree.

    gatorguy - December 6th, 2008
  13. Oh well, I can’t make you like it :-). I actually think that this system solves the problems of the old traffic info system: too little and too late. Most congestion in the rush hour is caused by just a slight overdemand of the total road capacity (apart from accidents ofcourse), a typical reduction of 10% of the demand makes road blocks dissolves like snow before the sun. If a sufficient number of users will have advanced real-time traffic info which make them use alternative routes that will be a boon to many congested countries, especially the west of the netherlands, london, paris, etc. It’s akin to the real-time traffic info on road signs you see in these areas that calculate how long certain routes will take and offer alternative ones. This system of course offers way more coverage and granularity then those static traffic signs. Certainly if you drive from Brussels or Frankfurt, a regular old traffic info system will do the trick and warn you on the radio upcoming road blocks. This system is different and has the opportunity of spreading traffic load over the day and across alternative roads in congested urban areas, and i think it will sell like hotcakes to those that can afford and need it.

    mafferik - December 6th, 2008
  14. You’ve confused my points. I LIKE what I know of HDTraffic. Your use of it in your daily drives will absolutely be beneficial, especially once the bugs are ironed out. My comment concerning it being of little use in ADVANCE planning, in other words I’m trabveling this afternoon and planning my route this morning, that’s the part I’m commenting on. Most users of the sevice, IMO, will be doing their planning at least several minutes before ever leaving the house, many if not most well ahead of time. How will the traffic report they received at 11am this morning assist them when they leave at noon, just one hour later?

    gatorguy - December 6th, 2008
  15. I see what you’re saying, but i think that’s just the point of the route planner; with the help of historical statistical traffic data you can make pretty accurate predictions on what traffic will be like at certain days and times. BTW, frequent long-distance commuters, cabbies, etc. will already know most of the traffic patterns by experience, i.e. to avoid rush hour it’s better to leave at 10am in the morning then at 8:30am, etc. This system just automates that process and provides greater urban detail, without the need for signficant infrastructural investments in roads and road signs (current major European roads have detection loops in the road that measured traffic density and relay that to traffic information signs to recommend alternative routes). Of course, if you don’t have flexible times or alternative routes, my point is moot.

    mafferik - December 6th, 2008
  16. What you’re extolling the merits of is IQRoutes, historical traffic speed data used in computing routes based on the time of day/week. That’s a good thing. Still didn’t answer the question as to how CURRENT time HD traffic is going to assist me if I leave an hour after computing the route? Your onboard traffic service (if you have one) will continually update as you travel. Nearly guarateed it will be different than what was reported BEFORE you left. Again, IMO, the inclusion of traffic reporting is more a marketing statement than a truly useful feature, particularly for those without a PND altogether. I can pull up current traffic status and current traffic speeds in advance of my trip using MSN with SmartTraffic, but it’s of little use mid-trip or if I delay my departure for 1/2 an hour. And we all know to expect traffic in major cities during morning and evening rush.

    gatorguy - December 6th, 2008
  17. Yes, of course an on-board PND with real-time traffic information by definition trumps visiting an online route planner an hour in advance of your planned trip, I thought you were making a less trivial point about the value of HD Traffic. But the historical traffic information (with or without the HD Traffic) will make this a much more useful route planner then Google Maps or Mapquest. I know I used to check a traffic site in Holland that had the current road congestion on major (interstate-like) roads as measured by detection loops. I think this is much more useful coupled with alternative road planning, but yeah, it depends how far in advance you use the tool before you start your trip.

    mafferik - December 6th, 2008
  18. So in essence, we pretty much agree?

    gatorguy - December 6th, 2008
  19. No, because your main point was that including HD Traffic is a marketing ploy, but I think it adds a lot of value versus route planners like Google Maps and Mapquest, I’d use it.

    mafferik - December 6th, 2008
  20. As long as you consider the limitations of the traffic reporting effectiveness, no reason not to. The inclusion of IQRouting has the potential to make it more reliable than Google or Mapquest, altho it seems I read that Google intends to include current traffic and traffic speeds in their routing engine. MSN has started doing so for major metro areas (I noticed it in Tampa Friday), and since Google is using TeleAtlas maps now for the US, it shouldn’t be long before IQRoutes is included there.

    gatorguy - December 7th, 2008
  21. They should, although I’m not sure how accurate and granular the traffic information will be by just relying on road sensor data and fleet management systems. I’m unsure whether TomTom or anybody else is able to create cellular network based traffic information here in the US, like they do in Europe. Here’s a link to a press release to the launch of HDTraffic in Portugal, no mention of launching this in the US

    mafferik - December 7th, 2008
  22. One hope for HD here in the US may come from Navteq. They are currently beta-testing a system in California that looks as tho it uses the same reliance on cellphone movement as TT is using with VodaPhone in Europe. One advantage they may have is Nokia (and their GPS-enabled phones) owning Navteq, making the integration a little more transparent.

    gatorguy - December 7th, 2008
  23. From the TomTom Route Planner:

    If you choose to leave now or within 30 minutes, current traffic conditions are taken into account when planning your route.

    Tim - December 9th, 2008
  24. Now it makes sense.

    gatorguy - December 9th, 2008
  25. Maybe I was a little mistaken then. . .

    Boy, you sure know how to ruin a good time. LOL!

    gatorguy - December 9th, 2008
  26. It’d be nice if they did the courtesy of a reply when signing up for the beta. I’ve been waiting for something from them like Mapsource. I also think that the traffic is marginally useful, but it is a work in progress. Hope it becomes useful before I retire.

    Steve Bukosky - December 12th, 2008
  27. Seems quite cool, I’ll have to give this a try sometime :p

    Go TomTom!

    Chris - February 2nd, 2009
  28. Why can’t you send a Route from Route Planner to the actual TomTOm?

    The reason I am using the route planner is because the route TomTom gives is me ridiculously convoluted and not even close to the best way to get there. Route Planner shows a far better way. But there’s no way to send that route to the TomTom. It’s insane.

    Carl - July 28th, 2009
    • Carl, the TomTom Route Planner is in beta. When they release version 1.0 I suspect that functionality and more will be in there.

      Tim - July 28th, 2009
  29. Nearly two years after the beta program for Tomtom’s on-line route planner was rolled out, it’s STILL in beta. It looks as tho further development has ceased on it, tho the site itself is still active and maintained.

    gatorguy - September 11th, 2010
    • There does appear to be a little bit of working going on with the site. Recently some of the traffic graphics have changed to make it a little easier to see flow delay direction over the roads. But yes– many of the obvious updates and feature enhancements have not come to light.

      Tim - September 21st, 2010



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