TomTom Combines Real-Time Traffic Data With GPS Navigation

The TomTom One XL High Definition Traffic device develops traffic data by monitoring the movement of mobile phones in cars using a GSM network.

Elena Malykhina, Technology Journalist

November 13, 2007

2 Min Read

GPS systems provider TomTom has figured out an innovative way to help drivers avoid traffic with a navigation device that uses a combination of mobile phone-generated data and information provided by authorities.

The device, called TomTom One XL High Definition Traffic, uses smart navigation software and advanced traffic information to inform drivers about traffic conditions in the Netherlands, where it's initially available. It monitors the entire main road network, including all highways and the majority of secondary roads. As a comparison, most other traffic information providers in the area cover only about 45% of highways and none of the secondary roads, according to TomTom.

TomTom is able to refresh traffic data every three minutes and offer drivers up to five times more traffic updates by using multiple sources and techniques. For example, traffic data is created by recording the movement patterns of mobile phones in cars using a GSM network operated by telecom provider Vodafone. The traffic data is then sent to the One XL HD Traffic device from TomTom's HD Traffic center over the Vodafone network. TomTom combines that with information supplied by traffic authorities and road operators.

With such precise information at their fingertips, drivers get a live overview of road conditions so they can choose the best route or make a quick decision to reroute if they're stuck on a congested road.

"We cannot solve the problem of traffic jams and do not promise customers they will never be stuck in a traffic jam again. However, the new TomTom One XL High Definition Traffic allows users to easily plan the smartest route to their destination and to better be informed about real time delays," said Harold Goddijn, TomTom's CEO, in a statement.

The device itself features a 4.3-inch touch screen, pre-installed maps of Europe, a GPS receiver, internal 1-Gigabyte memory, and a SD slot for additional maps.

One XL HD Traffic is available for sale in the Netherlands starting this month. It costs 400 EUR, or about $580, and comes with a 12-month subscription to TomTom's High Definition Traffic service. The subscription can be renewed monthly thereafter for 9.95 EUR.

TomTom plans to roll out an accessory early next year that extends HD Traffic data to existing users in different countries.

TomTom's products and services, however, are not limited to standalone navigation devices. The company has been partnering with manufacturers to introduce similar capabilities on mobile phones. Earlier this week, HTC unveiled its Touch Cruise smartphone with built-in GPS and navigation software from TomTom, and Palm last year collaborated with TomTom to enable voice-guided, turn-by-turn directions on its Treo smartphones.

About the Author(s)

Elena Malykhina

Technology Journalist

Elena Malykhina began her career at The Wall Street Journal, and her writing has appeared in various news media outlets, including Scientific American, Newsday, and the Associated Press. For several years, she was the online editor at Brandweek and later Adweek, where she followed the world of advertising. Having earned the nickname of "gadget girl," she is excited to be writing about technology again for InformationWeek, where she worked in the past as an associate editor covering the mobile and wireless space. She now writes about the federal government and NASA’s space missions on occasion.

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