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Traffic..how does it work? who / what sends out the signals?

My Garmin (NUVI 2689) gets some traffic reports.. but only on some streets. So who.. is responsible for sending out traffic signals.. How does one get more streets into the system? In Edmonton Ab.. there are several train crossings on major arteries..it would be really helpful to have those streets that come to a standstill..on the traffic system.

Comments

  • alanb 539 Points
    edited June 2
    Garmin Traffic coverage is what it is. If you want better coverage, the best way is to install the Garmin Smartphone Link app and use that instead of the FM traffic receiver that comes with your nuvi 2689. Garmin refers to the Smartphone Link Traffic service as "Live Traffic". Of course, using Smartphone Link will use some data on your smartphone. This page compares the various Garmin traffic options: https://support.garmin.com/en-US/?faq=i34WV8maJa11t7iwvYnz18&searchQuery=north america traffic
  • Ralph2689 0 Points
    Thanks.. but who / what sends Garmin the (limited) traffic signals. Is it the maps that limits where a signal can activate a stretch of road.. If so.. what turns it on / off? Where does the smartphone data come from? I understand that the cable that powers my Garmin has a FM receiver built into it.. So obviously something is sending out a FM signal about traffic.. who / what operates that? Is it the limited coverage of that FM signal that then limits where I see traffic? Or.. is there a lot of FM signals that my Garmin is not capable of interpreting ( then a map thing).. but, yet it does with a smartphone app..so it is not a map thing.. Very confusing.............
  • Boyd 1980 Points
    edited June 2
    This may help: https://support.garmin.com/en-US/?faq=i34WV8maJa11t7iwvYnz18

    It has nothing to do with the maps. The FM traffic is limited by a very slow data rate - similar to an old 300 baud modem, if you're old enough to remember those days ;) It piggybacks on selected regular FM radio station signals. So there just isn't enough bandwith to provide much data, and it is therefore limited to major roads in your immediate area.

    The newer HD traffic still uses FM radio signals and also has a slow data rate, but faster than the old FM system.

    The smartphone traffic uses a "real" data connection that can deliver much more data that covers a larger area.
  • Ralph2689 0 Points
    Thanks for that.. So how does one find which FM stations piggyback this.. slow or not, adding a few trouble spots should help. And.. how are the FM stations informed.. Google with Waze seem to have a pretty good system going.. to bad Garmin (or those FM stations) can not tag onto that.
  • Boyd 1980 Points
    edited June 2
    The FM coverage is very poor, you will only get it in major cities. I live 50 miles from Philadelphia and used to commute daily. I could not get any traffic data until I was about 20 miles from the city, which was too late to make a major change in my route. There are large areas with no coverage along the NJ Turnpike, even when you are close to NYC.

    I don't think there's any list of what stations offer it, and that's not something the user is supposed to even know about. The device should automatically lock onto the strongest signal (if any). If you go into the developer settings, I think it will give you some data about this, but I haven't looked for awhile. The method for accessing this varies by device, on some of them you need to go to the volume screen and hold your finger on the top right corner. On other models you hold your finger in the middle of the speedometer in the trip computer (IIRC).

    The traffic data comes from HERE (formerly Navteq). At one point Garmin claimed that it was augmented by data they receive from users with the smartphone link app. Not sure if that is still the case.

    IMO, the FM traffic is useless if not downright misleading. I stopped using it long ago.
  • alanb 539 Points
    The coverage map from Here: https://coverage.here.com/rds-coverage.html

    In my experience, the areas shown are optimistic for ideal signal conditions. And even if you get a signal, only major roads are reported. Because of this, you can't trust the rerouting feature. Since the minor roads aren't covered in the traffic reporting, the roads Garmin reroutes you to can have worse traffic problems than the original route.

    The Smartphone Link (Live Traffic) uses crowd sourcing along with other reporting sources, and therefore has more accurate up-to-date incidents and also covers most major streets and highways wherever there is cell phone signal available.
  • Boyd 1980 Points
    edited June 2
    alanb said:

    Because of this, you can't trust the rerouting feature.

    My mistrust goes deeper than that. The data you receive can be pretty "stale" and incidents that are shown may have already been cleared - or will be cleared by the time you reach them. I was fooled by this enough times that I stopped using the traffic receiver.

    Also, since the reporting area is very small for RDS traffic, there may be other obstacles ahead that will make the new route undesirable. I found it was much better to just listen to traffic reports that are broadcast every 10 minutes on a local radio station.

    The smartlink traffic is much better, but again you are subject to the strange routes that Garmin sometimes calculates. Last winter I was returning home from my daughter's place in Astoria and there was heavy traffic on 278 (as usual). Garmin kept wanting to send me into Manhattan and then back over the Brooklyn Bridge, which is ridiculous IMO. So, I think you need to look at whatever it suggests and decide whether the route makes sense.

    OTOH, my daughter and son in law stopped using dedicated GPS many years ago. They don't own a car and they either sign out a company car or rent one when they come to visit. They just blindly follow whatever Waze tells them to do without ever looking at the map. The surprising thing is, they usually make very good time getting to my place (about 140 mile trip). When they tell me the route they took, I would never have chosen it most of the time, it is often very counter-intuitive! :)
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