Tele Atlas launches traffic information service in Europe

Tele Atlas HD Traffic sets a new standard for traffic solutions, which typically rely on a single data source to judge traffic conditions. Tele Atlas HD Traffic contains up-to-the-minute information from multiple data sources, including anonymous GPS measurements from personal navigation devices and mobile phone signals, road sensors and journalistic data.

Using proprietary and tested methods, Tele Atlas dynamically merges this information and makes it available in real time to customers in the personal navigation, cell phone, fleet management, government and in-vehicle markets.

HD Traffic is available immediately for Tele Atlas partners to incorporate into their applications and devices, with initial coverage available for Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland on approximately 90 percent of highways and major arterial roads.

Until one year ago the European traffic information market was made of local players, sometimes a de facto monopoly (Germany) or a duopoly (United Kingdom and France). This was the case until two North American players, NAVTEQ and INRIX entered the market with ambitious plans in the last 12 months. NAVTEQ’s ambition really kicked off publicly with the acquisition of T-Systems Traffic in Germany in November 2008 and more recently announced an agreement with a motorway consortium in France (Autoroutes Trafic) while having in development a cellular-based probe system in Spain with wireless operator Telefonica.

INRIX, being a much smaller company, has been both developing its own real-time GPS probe network and signing partnerships with local players to gather traffic incident data through Arc Transistance, a European consortium of leading automobile clubs.

With Tele Atlas it makes a third pan-European player which will create more competition and ultimately will drive consolidation. But before it gets more consolidated, the market is likely to become more complex for two key reasons. First, more and more data layers (traffic incidents, road sensors, GPS probes, cellular probes) are fused to increase accuracy, but today none of the existing players are able to control all these data feeds in a majority of the European markets. Second, the distribution methods – hence to some extend the access to the market – are likely to remain very fragmented between RDS-TMC, digital radio and two-ways wireless connection.

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