Traffic reporting is the near real-time distribution of information about road conditions such as traffic congestion, detours, and traffic accidents. The reports help drivers anticipate and avoid traffic problems. In addition to periodic broadcast reports, traffic information can be transmitted to GPS units, smartphones, and personal computers.
Methods of gathering information
There are several methods in use today to gather traffic speed and incident info, ranging from professional reporters, to GPS crowdcrowding to combinations of both methods.
- INRIX uses its network of over 175 million vehicles and devices to gather speed data and licenses an incident platform to many of its partners as well as its own editorial staff.
- Google Traffic works by crowdsourcing the GPS information from phone users. By calculating the speed of users along a stretch of road, Google is able to generate a live traffic map.
- Monitoring police radio frequencies. Some radio stations have agreements with states' highway patrol that permit a direct connection with a law enforcement computer. This methodology enables real-time information gathering of the latest accident reports to states' highway patrol divisions. However, more and more, state departments of transportation have agreements with various technology providers to deliver automated traffic tracking data which is resold and redistributed.
- Many areas have helicopters to overfly accident scenes and other areas of high traffic volume. For example by the company Global Traffic Network.
- traffic cameras
- Reporting by drivers via telephones or app like Waze.
Methods of transmitting information
- GPS units
- 5-1-1 traffic information phone line, available in many places in North America, or similar dedicated phone service
- Radio via voice RDS, and TA
- Electronic road signs
- INRIX provides services and mobile applications pertaining to road traffic and driver services. INRIX collects data about roadway speeds from mobile phones, trucks, delivery vans, and other fleet vehicles equipped with GPS locator devices. Data retrieved from consumer cellular GPS-based devices including the iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone phones, Ford SYNC and Toyota Entune. The data collected creates traffic speed information for roads across North America (United States, Canada), as well as much of Europe, South America, and Africa. The company develops and distributes INRIX Traffic, a free mobile application.
- NAVTEQ provides data used in a wide range of applications, including automotive navigation systems for many car makers. Most clients use Navteq to provide traffic reports in major metropolitan areas throughout North America. NAVTEQ partners with third-party agencies and companies to provide its services for portable GPS devices made by Garmin, Lowrance, NDrive and web-based applications such as Yahoo! Maps, Bing Maps, and Nokia Maps. XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio use NAVTEQ data to show traffic information on navigation systems.
- Tele Atlas, a subsidiary of TomTom. delivers digital maps and other dynamic content for navigation and location-based services, including personal and in-car navigation systems, and provides data used in a wide range of mobile and Internet map applications.
- Google Maps and its subsidiary Waze.
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