This site uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. Find out more about how to manage cookies, or dismiss this message and continue to use cookies.

TomTom "LIVE" Traffic Demystified

gatorguy 224 Points
edited November -1 in TomTom Car Forum
Early tomorrow afternoon we have an opportunity for a TomTom rep to answer specific questions concerning traffic services on the 740. "Live" traffic as integrated with IQ2 on the new TomTom requires a change in thinking, and can easily be misunderstood. Here's a chance to get your questions answered. Please keep them specific and, as much as possible, something that can be answered Yes/No or at least quickly and simply. DHN will also link this thread at one of the TomTom forums, so expect you might see some unfamiliar names. This is a rare chance to get explanations straight from a TomTom Traffic manager, with Tim acting as intermediary on your behalf. So start posting and Tim and TomTom will do their best to get to each of them.
«1

Comments

  • dhn 217 Points
    Will Live traffic be coming to Canada so that the 740 can be made available here?
  • gatorguy 224 Points
    Will TomTom still be offering their own HDTraffic solution within the year as they indicated a few months ago.
  • mvl 191 Points
    edited May 2009
    1) Are they aware of / working on a fix for the IQroutes <10mph bug?

    Specifically, IQroutes seems to miscalculate when predictable traffic is less than 10mph. IQroutes thinks these roads have speeds of 15+ mph, which results in Totmom routing through predictable major traffic jams, when roundabout alternatives are much faster.

    2) Any plans to integrate data sources for LIVE and PLUS?

    3) Any plans to release the 940 and/or HD traffic receiver to the US?

    4) Any plans to permit PLUS devices to upload data to participate in LIVE traffic?

    5) The link below (traffic control center) gives a detailed overview of HDtraffic. Is LIVE traffic the same thing, but with the Vodafone probes turned off and Trafficcast added as an input source? Or is are there other major differences in the implementation?

    http://forums.gpsreview.net/discussion/8983/x/p1/

    6) LIVE traffic only seems to report issues on roads covered by Yahoo maps traffic (also powered by trafficcast). Is this the same or roughly the same coverage area?

    7) Assuming LIVE is filtering results based on IQroutes, does it tune the IQ filtering for each map version (as IQroutes improves)? Or could we miss both predictable congestion and LIVE congestion if we're not on the latest map? (eg: congestion considered predictable on latest map that device doesn't have, so LIVE doesn't report it)

    8) Does PLUS do the same IQ-based filtering? When PLUS says a 5 min delay is it 5 minutes more than IQ-predicted congestion? If not, does plus properly compensate for this in arrival time and routing decisions?
  • dhn 217 Points
    From TTF:

    Is traffic data received by live-capable devices filtered to exclude data that is consistent with IQ Routing data?

    What is the turnaround time between receiving data FROM a live device and having it received BY another live device?

    Where can users go online to look at traffic data that would be displayed on live devices?

    If data is filtered (as above) does the online resource present filtered or unfiltered data?

    If the data is filtered, how can users know if the traffic they are stuck in is considered "normal" by IQ Routing, or if traffic conditions are actually being misreported by live

    More questions:

    1. What is new in the entire LIVE system
    a.Information sources (and what role LIVE devices play as sources) - Trafficast Dynaflow, etc?
    b."Filtering" & algorithms used prior to results/recommendations presentation on the device
    c.Response time (event-to-device)
    d.Event types monitored (and reported)
    e.Functions

    2. A matrix of ALL aspects of the LIVE system compared to PLUS-based system in a side-by-side feature matrix. That ought to help ID the common and the news
    a.Including the above list
    b.The full feature set of each system for comparison
  • Tim 1453 Points
    I probably won't get to all of those questions specifically, and many will overlap with what I already have-- or could likely be explained by the answers I get to other questions. I've got about 20 questions lined up that will hopefully cover most if the topics people have listed.

    So sorry in advance if I don't get to your question specifically. Also, it will likely take me a bit to process and write-up what I find out. So don't expect a response later today. I'm in travel mode this week so I've got a heavy meeting schedule but will try to work through all of this as fast as I can.

    This will also give me the ability to really test things in Los Angeles traffic, in addition to the testing I've been doing in Boston as well as the testing gatorguy has done in the Tampa/Orlando area.
  • Tim 1453 Points
    Here are answers to some of the questions. More will come later. But first, if you have not seen the following video please watch it. Virtually everything they say here applies to the USA as well. Basically instead of Vodafone probe data, they are using TC's probe data. Other than that-- everything pretty much works the same and one could argue that what we are getting could be called HD Traffic. Just the source of the probe data is different.



    • TomTom is getting current data from TrafficCast (TC). They are not getting any historical data nor predictive (future) data from TC-- both of which they are using their own IQ Routes data.

    • Their contract with TC is confidential, so they wouldn't say if they are passing probe data from 740 devices back to TC. I'd take that to mean they are, but that can't be confirmed 100%. Regardless, I don't think it matters as the number of LIVE devices out there is a drop in the bucket compared to the probe data TC is collecting.

    • Probe data coming from LIVE devices as well as WORK devices is going back to TomTom and is being used in their traffic model for current flow data.

    • You will never see a "green" flow line on the traffic map. You will see yellow, orange, and red.

    • If TC thinks traffic is slow, but matches the expectations of IQ Routes, no delay will be sent/shown.

    • TC covers about 485,000 miles of roads.

    • The data sent out to LIVE devices is exactly the same as what is displayed to routes.tomtom.com although they might not always be in perfect sync to due to how often each refreshes the data. But they are essentially the same.

    • Live traffic will be coming to Canadian markets like Toronto, but no ETA.
  • mvl 191 Points
    Coverage looks awesome - if Inrix announced at the and of April that it tripled its coverage to over 116k miles, and PLUS doesn't even have the tripling yet, the LIVE coverage of 485k miles beats PLUS coverage by 12:1.
  • gatorguy 224 Points
    MVL, the total coverage and the areas that report incidents may be (and probably are) different. The 485 thousand miles includes all roads with historical, predictive or incident data, but not necessarily all three for each road. The only one of the three used by "live" is incident.
  • Tim 1453 Points
    if Inrix announced at the and of April that it tripled its coverage to over 116k miles
    It is a bit misleading though because the INRIX coverage is talking about flow data only while the TC number quoted is for all of their data.
  • gatorguy 224 Points
    Yes, guess I could have been more clear what I was trying to say. I don't think either TomTom or TrafficCast has ever indicated the miles of road covered by flow data, which I erroneously referred to as incident, helping to confuse things. :roll:

    That's why Tim writes reviews :)
  • mvl 191 Points
    If you look at Yahoo trafficcast, the covered roads look like they're about 12:1 vs Plus/Inrix, at least in Boston.

    I've also noticed that the larger of these non-PLUS roads often have flow data in LIVE traffic. But I also see an occasional flow report on a small trafficcast road every now and then. So I think it's possible that the whole Yahoo trafficcast network could have LIVE coverage, if there are enough probes that report non-IQ speeds.

    I'll pay close attention to the LIVE online report the next few days, when there are playoff basketball/hockey games in Boston. There should be significant enough non-standard traffic to light up a number of secondary roads in Boston.

    I'll report back on what I find in a few days.
  • mvl 191 Points
    I've been peeking at routes.tomtom.com to view LIVE traffic about 5-6 times throughout each day since last Monday.

    I can clearly see that LIVE covers primary roads and large secondary (non-PLUS) roads. as they get flow warnings daily.

    But I do see small secondary road pop up every now and then. By now I think I've seen about 50% of the small roads with flow warnings, at least once. Every one of them has been a Yahoo maps/trafficcast covered road.

    So I'm pretty confident that the entire Yahoo maps trafficcast coverage is covered by LIVE traffic, which I would estimate as 12:1 over PLUS in Boston.

    I did notice zero reports on car-only roads (except for the extremely congested Storrow Drive), so I'm reasonably confident that trafficast is NOT giving Tomtom any consumer cellphone probes. Most likely they're providing data from a large number of delivery fleets.

    Edit: I noticed the first instance of LIVE traffic reporting flow on a non-Yahoo/trafficcast road (the Ted Williams tunnel). Also, the 740 shouldn't get data there either since it has no EPT, so I don't know what was sourcing it - maybe a WORK 920?
  • offthegrid 91 Points
    Just took a peak at the Routes page before I head out the door and it shows rte 28 in Milton with a jam, rte 3 in Cambridge jammed, small road I can't identify in Medford also. All secondary roads.
  • offthegrid 91 Points
    Interesting that Jasper has announced that they now use AT&T exclusively.
    This could account for the difference in coverage that I noticed between Dash and the 740.

    http://social.thewherebusiness.com/content/jasper-wireless-connects-att
  • offthegrid 91 Points
    Tim, gpspassion is reporting that his TT contact tells him that the probe data is only being used for quality control and is not being used for flow data at this time.

    Maybe you guys can get your TT contacts together on this point. I am disappointed there is even the possibility that the unit isn't acting as a probe.

    http://www.gpspassion.com/forumsen/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=100734&whichpage=3
  • gatorguy 224 Points
    I already saw that. With so few x40's in the US, I don't see how it would really matter for now. Later on, perhaps a few months or so, maybe. And as even Guillaume mentions, IF they are not currently using the x40's for probe data, they may soon change that. Also remember that his contacts are giving him feedback on the European HDTraffic which we (and he) knows is different from the US model.
  • Tim 1453 Points
    Tim, gpspassion is reporting that his TT contact tells him that the probe data is only being used for quality control and is not being used for flow data at this time.
    Well, I certainly can't provide much comment about what someone else told someone else. They traditionally have a euro focus as well.

    But with that said-- just because they are collecting data from 740 devices doesn't necessarily say how they are using it. If they are using it for "quality control" then that implies they are using it. Just like TC won't likely release current flow data on one vehicle, TomTom probably won't either.
  • offthegrid 91 Points
    One thing that he didn't address and Tim did is that TC could and probably is getting and using the probe data.

    That could be the answer in a nutshell.
  • Tim 1453 Points
    That is a good point and a likely scenario. If TomTom is sending 740 data back to TC, which is then incorporating it with their existing data that gets passed back to TT, then there is no reason for TT to use the data "directly". But the 740 data would still be used in the data, but not used by TomTom first-hand.
  • mvl 191 Points
    The gpspassion's link (inside the link provided) seems to discuss older conversations with how x20/x30 devices provide their probe information to the traffic system. If I read that right, then yes the x20/x30 information is being provided (via the submit anonymous data option) to the IQroutes engine, which is the base map data before LIVE traffic reports.

    It seems pretty clear that the 740s in the US are being used as probes in LIVE traffic:
    1) The tomtom rep said this to Tim
    2) The HD traffic video shows that LIVE and WORK devices are being used as probes, and the tomtom rep said this work the same way with just Vodafone being replaced with Trafficcast
    3) The trafficcast press release says "TrafficCast’s real-time road speed data will be combined with near real-time GPS data from TomTom’s GO 740 LIVE devices to present users with up-to-the-minute traffic speed and incident reports."
    4) Both the Boston Globe and the Wall Street Journal reported that the 740's are being used as probes

    There's a question on whether trafficcast gets these probes (unknown in the "non-disclosed" contract), but I think it's pretty clear that LIVE users get it.

    FYI, I've noticed increased report density in routes.tomtom.com lately, far more than a month ago when the 740 was first released. So sales of the 740s must be picking up, and/or tomtom may be better tuning the American HD engine.
  • Tim 1453 Points
    Just noticed the following... digging up more details now...
    TomTom selected INRIX as a strategic partner for its new TomTom live connected services. view press release
  • Tim 1453 Points
    Looks like this will be announced tomorrow. Interesting development for sure.
  • gatorguy 224 Points
    Smart move if they're getting away from TrafficCast and going Inrix. I haven't seen anything noted myself so looking forward to what you have Tim.
  • Tim 1453 Points
    Check hidden cache for the back-story, but it will be announced tomorrow.
  • gatorguy 224 Points
    So it will be clearer tomorrow? IMO, if Inrix is now going to partner with TT here, then I would think that means TT has no immediate plans to offer their own HDTraffic solution. Otherwise why would Inrix help them out now just to compete with them in a few months? Just supposition I guess until the analysts chime in after the announcement is made. TrafficCast must have had a really short term contract with TomTom. I know many of us quessed it wouldn't last long, but gee whiz. :shock:
  • Tim 1453 Points
    So it will be clearer tomorrow?
    Yes.

    But let's take a step back for a moment regarding HD traffic. What makes traffic "HD" in your definition?
  • gatorguy 224 Points
    I knew you were going to ask that.

    Real-time (within 5 minutes or less) flow data from non-commercial vehicles over most primary and secondary roads. That would do it for me. I don't expect to see how fast vehicles are driving in my residential neighborhood, but if traffic on our main North/South artery in the city is at a near stop due to an accident, we should have some indication. As long as somewhat reliable traffic reporting is available for only larger state highways, interstates and freeways, it's just not HD. A term waaaayyyy overused BTW. Anyone have HD sunglasses for driving? :lol:
  • mvl 191 Points
    To me HD = consumer cell probes = really good data on primary AND secondary roads
  • mvl 191 Points
    Last time trafficcast was announced it was paired with the 940....

    940 for fathers day? Please please please Tomtom???
  • Tim 1453 Points
    I agree with both of you on your definitions. But I don't see the Inrix deal as excluding an HD traffic solution.
  • mvl 191 Points
    Hmm... Tomtom hasn't announced pricing yet for LIVE renewals, have they?

    Maybe Trafficcast's per-device payment was just for the free 3-months trial period.

    My biggest hope is that this Inrix contract means PLUS will expand coverage to the expanded flow roads also. Maybe my 1-time sideroad flow I saw last weekend on PLUS was an accidental early turn-on.
  • gatorguy 224 Points
    Tim, I'm not saying that Inrix won't offer it. I suspect they will by year's end. At least a definition of it good enough for TomTom to run with in radio commercials (Damn they're good at marketing).
    But I don't think TomTom will have an in-house developed and maintained system in the US, nor an exclusive on Inrix HD very long if at all.
  • mvl 191 Points
    edited June 2009
    I agree with both of you on your definitions. But I don't see the Inrix deal as excluding an HD traffic solution.
    I agree - the HD video said they use Vodafone probes, LIVE probes, and TMC. Here TMC pretty much is Inrix, so they could turn on the Vodafone probes at any time. Edit: gator, yes didn't think of the obvious - Inrix could partner with any phone company for the same thing.

    Do you know if Vodafone owns any intellectual property in the HD system? If so, then we may have to wait for Verizon 4G (w Verizon SIM cards) before HD Traffic.
  • mvl 191 Points
    Tim, I'm not saying that Inrix won't offer it. I suspect they will by year's end. At least a definition of it good enough for TomTom to run with in radio commercials (Damn they're good at marketing).
    But I don't think TomTom will have an in-house developed and maintained system in the US, nor an exclusive on Inrix HD very long if at all.
    Tomtom selling HD Traffic via their European archrival Inrix. I'd love to be a fly on the wall in that negotiation.
  • gatorguy 224 Points
    Hmm... Tomtom hasn't announced pricing yet for LIVE renewals, have they?
    They didn't officially announce a renewal rate in the UK until about a week or two prior to the anniversary of the x40 release. But yes, they already stated the monthly subscription here in the States would be $10 a month and the 3 month anniversary is only a month away . . . But since it's not offered yet, they can always change their minds.

    MVL, with what looks like slow sales of the NA740, I don't expect a more expensive model to be offered, rather a cheaper one like the the XL Live (or maybe One First Fifth Edition 350 for the US :lol:) if anything at all is announced along with the Inrix press release. The good news? We don't have to wait more than 12 hours or so to find out.

    Thanks for the leak Tim
  • Tim 1453 Points
    I'm not sure if any NA carriers are ready to give up that type of data for fear of privacy complaints. But I could be wrong. Inrix has a long standing relationship with Microsoft, FWIW. TomTom and Apple seem to be going out on a few dates to check out their chemistry, perhaps there is something there. A whole bunch of iPhone users running TomTom would help a bit towards more probe data. Certainly not enough to be a complete solution on its own, but every bit helps I suppose.
  • gatorguy 224 Points
    gator, yes didn't think of the obvious - Inrix could partner with any phone company for the same thing.
    Except maybe Nokia :wink:
  • offthegrid 91 Points
    To me HD Traffic means secondary coverage and accurate coverage.

    Interesting that this should pop up right after TomTom went out and got $600 million in money to repay debt and 'invest'.
  • gatorguy 224 Points
    I assume you also saw where the money was coming from. :wink:
  • Tim 1453 Points
    TomTom LIVE U-Turns to INRIX
    INRIX®, the leading provider of traffic information in North America, announced today that it has been selected by TomTom, the world’s leading navigation solutions and digital mapping provider, as its strategic partner for TomTom LIVE real-time traffic and fuel price information in North America. INRIX delivers the traffic and fuel data for TomTom LIVE Services and other TomTom devices via INRIX Connected Services, a comprehensive dynamic content platform providing navigation OEMs and location-based service application developers with private label, go-to-market solutions for in-vehicle, PND, wireless phone and other connected devices.

    "Like TomTom, INRIX is a leader in their industry, and consistently provides innovative and enriched content for a more informed driving experience," said Jocelyn Vigreux, president of TomTom Inc. "TomTom's proprietary Map Share and IQ Routes features bundled with INRIX’s quality traffic information set a new standard in navigation and will change consumers’ driving experience."

    INRIX Real-Time Traffic is available for 126 markets and 160,000 miles of roads in the U.S. and Canada. INRIX is also providing dynamic fuel prices for over 80,000 gas stations to TomTom via its partnership with OPIS.

    “TomTom is continuing its innovation and leadership in the navigation device market,” commented Bryan Mistele, president and CEO of INRIX. “We are thrilled to provide our crowd-sourced traffic solutions, which leverage over one million GPS-enabled vehicles and mobile devices, as part of TomTom’s dynamic content portfolio.”
  • mvl 191 Points
    No change in PLUS traffic as of this morning - I'll post back if I see anything. There really isn't much reason for Tomtom to run two parallel traffic services.

    So I hope the PLUS upgrade happens, it'll give me more of a reason to wait for a 940.
  • Tim 1453 Points
    I wonder if this switch doesn't have something to do with the iPhone app.
  • gatorguy 224 Points
    Possibly. In any case, something has changed at TomTom in the past 90 days or so. Obviously Inrix would have been the better supplier from the beginning, yet TomTom initially chose TrafficCast. If a deal could be done now, then that indicates to me some major change at TomTom has taken place regarding their view of how traffic in the US should be done.
  • mvl 191 Points
    Inrix's recently announced Ford Sync solution appears to use Teleatlas maps. Maybe it was one of the tradeoffs in the deal.
  • offthegrid 91 Points
    If this is anything like the Microsoft announcement when they 'announced' a contract to use Inrix services it won't amount to a hill of beans as Microsoft still uses Navteq/Traffic.com for traffic.

    No change in my traffic info today.
  • offthegrid 91 Points
    2 European Investment firms.
    I assume you also saw where the money was coming from. :wink:
  • gatorguy 224 Points
    Part of it, and one of those is lead by a former TeleAtlas guy. The rest is from the current controlling shareholders/Executive team. But it is good to see they're willing to put more money in their company.
  • Tim 1453 Points
    No change in my traffic info today.
    Might not be all that easy to detect the flip, if or when it happens.

    This does bring up and interesting point though that with the GSM method of downloading data from the TomTom servers, they don't get locked into one provider like you can with a RDS-TMC cable or similar technology.
  • gatorguy 224 Points
    There's a few target roads near me that should give me a hint when it happens if it's not formally announced.
Sign In or Register to comment.
↑ Top