Speed Profiles and HD Traffic Power the Highways

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Industry News
Speed Profiles and HD Traffic Power the Highways

By Susan Smith

This June TeleAtlas released HD Traffic, a product for navigation and location based solutions designed to find the quickest routes to destinations using “live” road conditions.

click to enlarge [ Click to Enlarge ]
London HD Traffic 3:00 pm GMT – HD Traffic for London , England @ 3:00 pm GMT on 2 September 2009.

An updated version of Tele Atlas Speed Profiles was also released this year, which provides accurate speed data to help navigation system users find the best routes and estimate travel times more accurately.

TeleAtlas senior product manager Nhai Cao said that the two products complement each other. Up until now, Cao said that people have relied on interpreted data based on road classes for the most part to find optimal routes and estimated travel times. Speed Profiles came about as a result of TeleAtlas’ acquisition by TomTom, which has allowed the company to collect a lot of data from users anonymously.

“The data helps us develop a big database of speeds on different roads around Europe and North America,” explained Cao. “Our intent is to be able to provide our application providers with more optimal routes for their users and in doing so, end users will be able to see benefits, including saving time, money, consuming less fuel and preserving our environment.”

Past data was reliant on ETA data, which depends upon reference speeds or speed limits that aren’t always accurate. “Just because the speed limit on a major freeway is 55 mph doesn’t mean people drive 55 mph on that road at all times, so during peak hours that speed might be 25 hours mph. During night time people might be going 65 mph, so you can see how it changes the ETA for a particular customer,” Cao said. The right ETA influences what your routes may be, so Speed Profiles allows application providers to be able to figure out better ways of creating better routes for their users. They can take all the information about these roads and what is termed “local knowledge” and make sure customers are aware of their different options.

Speed Profiles aggregates everyone’s experiences, and provides the database with the best source of information for that time of day and route selected.

How Speed Profiles is built

TeleAtlas has had access to over 700 billion GPS measurements from millions of TomTom PND users. Their coverage includes 24 countries in Europe and North America which right now encompasses the U.S. and Canada. “We have data for almost every single road class, and we link this data to road elements in TeleAtlas maps.”

According to the press release, Tele Atlas Speed Profiles is now available in 26 countries, covering 35 million kilometers of both directions of roads and featuring:
- Data derived from more than 600 billion speed measurements shared by consumers in 26 countries over the past two years;
- Coverage for 24 European countries, encompassing 15.5 million kilometers and complete coverage of the navigable road network;
- Coverage in North America for Canada and the United States, encompassing 19.5 million kilometers and approximately 90 percent of the navigable road network; and
- 77 percent of frequently traveled roadways with actual average speeds for every five minutes of the day on any day of the week.

HD Traffic

click to enlarge [ Click to Enlarge ]
Palo Alto Route (peak) - Route using Speed Profiles from Sand Hill Rd. , Palo Alto to Castro St. , Mountain View during off peak hours

HD Traffic is available in Europe in Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, UK and Belgium. The product provides real time traffic information so that commuters can get the best route available to get them from point A to point B.

Previous traffic information relied on a single source of data mostly: a set of sensors or cameras, or helicopters to judge traffic conditions. The TeleAtlas method merges three different sets of information: the PND from TomTom users who use this service, cell phone signaling data, which provides the ability to get information from millions of cell phone users, and finally, traditional sources of data as well, which include the sensors.

The markets TeleAtlas is currently looking at in terms of delivering HD Traffic are PNDs currently in use with TomTom devices all across Europe, and mobile phones. Other markets include fleet management and government institutions and in car navigation.

click to enlarge [ Click to Enlarge ]
Palo Alto Route (off peak) – Route using Speed Profiles from Sand Hill Rd. , Palo Alto to Castro St. , Mountain View during off peak hours

HD traffic provides live information service with information that is updated very often, on average 3 minutes to the end user. HD Traffic is delivered as GPRS so customers can get it very quickly as well, so they’re not getting stale information from 15 or 10 minutes ago.

How HD Traffic works is that the first portion of it includes the data collection from the PND source, which is the most accurate, the cell phone signaling data which includes millions of users across the road network, and finally the reporting data that includes the government and road sensors.

TeleAtlas compiles all this data into a proprietary data fusion engine where it is represented very accurately within a map pinpointed close to where you need to travel, when you need to travel.

Live services will include weather, Google search and other dynamic products with HD Traffic and Speed Profiles.

According to the press release, Tele Atlas HD Traffic can be delivered to any connected, mobile device and features:

  • Delivery of “live” congestion information;
  • Extremely accurate positioning of traffic jams;
  • High update frequency, with fresh data delivered every three minutes;
  • Road speeds, length and location data to deliver the complete picture of the traffic congestion;
  • Content based on a proven approach to collecting, processing and distributing real-time traffic data.

Top News of the Week

DigitalGlobe announced that the WorldView-2 remote-sensing satellite has arrived at Vandenberg Air Force Base in anticipation of its launch on October 6, 2009.
As one of the next generation of WorldView-class satellites, WorldView-2 features advanced agility and accuracy, industry-leading collection capacity, and eight-band multispectral imagery, The company’s sophisticated constellation enhances DigitalGlobe’s ability to rapidly collect and maintain up-to-date imagery of the areas of greatest interest to its defense, intelligence, government, and commercial clients. Furthermore, it accelerates the speed by which its leading ImageLibrary is refreshed and expands the ways in which the ImageLibrary can be used.

NAVTEQ has revealed further insights from a proprietary research study designed to assess the consumer impact of everyday use of navigation devices. These findings focus specifically on the impact that the addition of real-time traffic has on the driver experience, and point to the use of traffic information as a primary influencer in time savings for the average driver.

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