What good is traffic information really?

We wanted to know and put ourselves in a traffic jam – with 3 cars equipped with our MapTrip navigation system and different traffic data sources: TomTom, INRIX and a navigation system without current traffic reports. The result did not really surprise us: Without is the slowest way …

Better by far and faster in real time

Usually clear and suddenly gridlocked. We wanted to know how to obtain the best information and also get to the destination in the shortest time. Classic infoware: we tried it for ourselves – on the route from Cologne to Bonn. Passing through an area with heavy traffic, so unforeseeable that it has often aggravated our colleagues.

So our three navigation enthusiasts left in their cars at the same time and measured the speed of traffic in a traffic jam. After all, nothing is more plausible than a self-test. Not the drivers but the data from traffic information providers were tested – in this case the contest was between TomTom, INRIX and a navigation system without current traffic reports.

The result: TomTom and INRIX are fast, no question about it. The only problem is that traffic jams often form almost instantaneously, and not just in case of an accident. Especially at the start of rush hour, it is possible for traffic information providers to still report the all-clear when everything is just slowing down.

Another striking aspect: When one lane of the motorway is stopped while traffic is still flowing in the other, the values are distorted. For those who have to go through the traffic jam, the specified speed is too high. For those travelling in the lane that is flowing, the specified speed is too low. So accuracy is somewhat lacking.

Nevertheless: The information is surprisingly precise. Only sometimes congestion develops faster than the data updates – as previously mentioned, a traffic jam happens in a matter of a few minutes. Using the real-time data of the professional providers is worth it – their new traffic flow information is better than the old traffic reports by several magnitudes.

Our conclusion: Real-time traffic information is essential for route calculation in the future! In the past, navigation systems were used for travelling in parts unknown. Today they guide you through the traffic jungle and help avoid traffic jams. After all, every minute counts in transportation and logistics!

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