It’s hard to imagine that anyone enjoys getting stuck in traffic. It’s a colossal waste of time, not to mention a waste of fuel, and millions of people endure it routinely.
When companies like INRIX say they provide real-time traffic information, I wondered, does it make a difference? This week INRIX announced that Audi selected INRIX XD Traffic to provide real-time traffic information and traffic-powered navigation, so it seemed as good a time as any to pose the question.
INRIX VP Ken Kranseler says an effective traffic system is reliable, relevant, and timely. Kranseler explains that INRIX collects and consolidates data from several hundred different sources, including road sensors, license plate and toll tag readers, connected commercial and consumer vehicles, transportation departments, and partners like Clear Channel Radio. Its traffic service is widely considered reliable, no offense to the guy in the chopper who flew over my location 20 minutes ago when congestion was worse than it is now.
So INRIX is delivering reliable traffic information, but is it relevant and timely? Connected consumers and commercial vehicle drivers typically receive real-time traffic data via an FM sideband signal, which means they get accurate information about trouble spots in their metro area. That information may or may not affect them, depending on where they are in relation to trouble spots.
And that’s where connectivity comes in. Kranseler says Audi vehicles connected to the Internet via Audi Online Services will use XD Traffic to provide motorists with real-time traffic information relevant to where they are and where they are going, including traffic-influenced turn-by-turn directions and alerts to accidents and other incidents along their route. He cites research from BMW indicating that 80 percent of the time consumers travel to one of just five destinations. Accurate traffic information with alternative routing has the potential to make those trips easier. Traffic information will be available on in-vehicle navigation screens, smart phones, and computers. Traffic is one big reason why connected vehicles make sense. A free smartphone app is available (iPhone or Android).