Finally, HD Traffic is coming to America.
After launching in Europe about 3 years ago, the service that tracks hundreds of thousands of drivers on the road to give you more accurate traffic reports will be available nationwide in April or May on a TomTom device.
HD traffic reports are twice as accurate, they cover 12 times the number of roadways and they are updated every 2 minutes instead of the usual 15 minutes, says TomTom’s Tom Murray.
The first product to offer HD Traffic is on display at CES in a new TomTom GO LIVE 2505 portable navigation device (PND). It gives you a capacitive 5-inch glass touch screen (with pinch and zoom and finger swipes) plus Bluetooth and voice recognition, and new “instant routing” at $349 suggested retail price. HD Traffic will be offered in an extended free trial but then users will incur a fee to be announced.
Murray says HD Traffic will be the “superior traffic system in the U.S.” with “exhaustive coverage of road ways…It’s a killer app for PNDs.”
There are less “ghost events” or false positive traffic jams. And because there’s greater road coverage (6 million roads compared to the current ½ million, says TomTom) you get better rerouting. HD Traffic is less likely to steer you from a jam on the highway into a jam on the back road.
HD Traffic data is collected from drivers with TomTom devices (their road speed can be measured). TomTom adds that to data it collects from fleet drivers, and combines it with past road speed data (also known as IQ Routes). Then it adds traffic accident report data and mixes all that up to make predictions on traffic. “The accuracy is frightening,” says Murray.
The GO LIVE 2505 also gives you Google local search, weather, fuel prices, and you can ask the device to “take me to the nearest restaurant.”
In more traditional PNDs, TomTom confirmed that larger screen sizes are now the norm. More 5-inch models are heading to the market and the 3.5-inch models have “all but disappeared.”
The company is also showing a new mid-range PND line called VIA. It offers a super slim case even with its fold-up mount permanently attached to the unit. It’s got the same new user interface as in the new GO LIVE model with “instant” routing and faster rerouting. The models include the 1405 4.3 inch version, and the 1504 5-inch model with street name guidance. The step up 1435 and 1535 models come in similar screen sizes with Bluetooth and voice recognition. There are options for lifetime traffic and map updates.
Shipping for the VIA is mid-year starting at $169 suggested retail price.