Traffic reporting is the near real-time distribution of information
about road conditions such as traffic congestion, detours, and traffic
collisions. The reports help drivers anticipate and avoid traffic
problems. Traffic reports, especially in cities, may also report on
major delays to mass transit that does not necessarily involve roads.
In addition to periodic broadcast reports, traffic information can be
transmitted to GPS units, smartphones, and personal computers.
1 Methods of gathering information
2 Methods of transmitting information
Methods of gathering information
There are several methods in use today to gather traffic speed and
incident info, ranging from professional reporters, to GPS
crowdcrowding to combinations of both methods.
INRIX uses its network of over 175 million vehicles and devices to
gather speed data from mobile phones, trucks, delivery vans, and other
fleet vehicles equipped with GPS locator devices including smart
Ford SYNC and
Toyota Entune and much of Europe, South
America, and Africa.
Google Traffic works by crowdsourcing the GPS information from phone
users. By calculating the speed of users along a stretch of road,
Google is able to generate a live traffic map. Its subsidiary,
Waze, also allows users to report directly via a smartphone app.
TomTom Traffic uses crowd-sourced data from mobile phone users, along
with data from traditional sources such as induction loops and traffic
Monitoring police radio frequencies. Some radio stations have
agreements with states' highway patrol that permit a direct connection
with a law enforcement computer. This enables real-time information
gathering of the latest accident reports to highway patrol
Many areas have helicopters to overfly accident scenes and other areas
of high traffic volume. For example, by the company Global Traffic
Giditraffic is an online social service which employs crowd sourcing
as its primary means of providing real-time traffic updates to
subscribers. The service is delivered free of charge.
Roadside speed sensors, either infra-red sensors for spot measurements
or automatic number plate recognition for measuring speed between two
Trafficmaster have a network of sensors on motorways and trunk
roads in the UK).
Methods of transmitting information
GPS units (see Integration of traffic data with navigation systems)
Radio via voice RDS, and TA
Electronic road signs
5-1-1 traffic information phone line or similar.
Television and web
INRIX develops and distributes
INRIX Traffic, a free mobile
application, and also provides reporting services to a variety of
local television stations.
NAVTEQ provides data used in a wide range of applications, including
automotive navigation systems for many car makers. Most clients use
Navteq to provide traffic reports in major metropolitan areas
throughout North America.
NAVTEQ partners with third-party agencies
and companies to provide its services for portable GPS devices made by
NDrive and web-based applications such as Yahoo!
Maps, Bing Maps, and Nokia Maps.
XM Satellite Radio
XM Satellite Radio and Sirius
Satellite Radio use
NAVTEQ data to show traffic information on
NAVTEQ's media services was spun out to form Radiate Media in 2011,
which subsequently merged with
Global Traffic Network in 2016, forming
US Traffic Network (USTN).
Tele Atlas, a subsidiary of TomTom. delivers digital maps and other
dynamic content for navigation and location-based services, including
personal and in-car navigation systems, and provides data used in a
wide range of mobile and Internet map applications.
Google Maps uses a variety of governmental and private traffic
reporting organizations to provide information, along with its Waze
subsidiary, which uses crowdsourcing to provide observed traffic
^ Subramanian, Karthik; Srikanth, R. (January 21, 2014). "Now, Apps
for Live Traffic Feed"