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Real-Time Traffic Information Will Become a Key Feature for Navigation

With basic navigation devices and services becoming commonplace in the industrialized world, driven by the rapid growth of GPS adoption, the next frontier is a richer variety of location-aware content. The first prominent example of such dynamic content is real-time traffic information, which will be further enhanced by the addition of historical and predictive traffic data to assist drivers in determining the best route. According to a new study from ABI Research, these traffic information services will reach more than 83 million paid or registered users worldwide by 2012.

“When it comes to collecting and distributing useful traffic data,” says research director Mike Ippoliti of ABI Research, “the emphasis is shifting. Reporting of ‘incident data’ from accidents, road closures, other emergencies is becoming routine; the next step is predictive and probe-derived data that can deliver information on more complex problems and support re-routing of drivers around traffic problems.”

ABI Research sees three elements to the puzzle of providing truly useful traffic data for navigation systems.

First, the traffic data collection ecosystem is very complex. Infrastructure measurement systems (road sensors, cameras, radar, or loop sensors) are expensive and hard to install. But alternative collection methods such as floating-car data, and potentially cellular movement data, require no roadside installations, and may prove to be the sources of choice for many data collectors.

A second challenge is traffic data aggregation. As the basic data becomes more available, the complex data derived from floating-car probes or predictive modeling will become the differentiator. But such data are harder to integrate into navigation routing.

A third factor is market landscape. ABI Research expects INRIX and NAVTEQ/ to become the two players in traffic data. Other players will largely become marginalized, or will supply INRIX or NAVTEQ/ That said, Ippoliti adds, “INRIX is itself a prime target for acquisition within the next few years. One could speculate on potential buyers, such as a PND maker who was disappointed not to acquire a map data provider, and needs a source of data leverage in the market.”

A new ABI Research study, Traffic Information for Navigation Systems, examines the collection, aggregation and delivery methods for traffic information. The report identifies key market drivers, analyzes important players, and provides detailed forecasts for each major region. It forms part of three Research Services: Automotive Infotainment, Commercial Telematics and Location Aware Services.

ABI Research is a leading market research firm focused on the impact of emerging technologies on global consumer and business markets. Utilizing a unique blend of market intelligence, primary research, and expert assessment from its worldwide team of industry analysts, ABI Research assists hundreds of clients each year with their strategic growth initiatives. For information, visit, or call +1.516.624.2500.

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