For 2011 models, Ford will be adding a new high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane routing preference to the navigation menu.
HOV, or carpool lanes, are popular among commuters in highly-populated states such as California, New York, Texas and Virginia – along with cities such as Washington D.C., Seattle and Atlanta – because they allow vehicles with multiple passengers to use designated lanes for faster travel.
Drivers traveling with passengers will be able to set the HOV guidance option on the navigation preference menu. Once engaged, the system will map routes using HOV lanes where appropriate when a destination is entered. Users will know that routes contain HOV lanes when they see a white diamond icon illuminated on the map during route selection.
As a bonus, owners of Ford hybrid vehicles, including the Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan, Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner, could be eligible in certain states for special HOV lane passes that allow single-occupant travel in the carpool lanes, making the combination of hybrid and an HOV-enabled navigation system a highly fuel- and time-efficient form of travel.
In addition to the new HOV logic for 2011, the Ford voice-controlled navigation system will also receive:
* Branded point-of-interest icons – for example, Starbucks, Mobile or Holiday Inn – will appear on mapping screens, and higher-density street labeling, showing more street names per zoom level on navigation maps
* HD Radio technology, allowing users to receive free over-the-air digital FM broadcasts where available
* Integration with SYNC Traffic, Directions, & Information app, enabling new features like the ability to download destinations sent from a home or work computer from Mapquest (late availability).