Sunday, December 03, 2006

Satellite Radio & Real Time Traffic Reports

Real-Time Traffic Reports? Get Real
By JOHN R. QUAIN, Technology, The New York Times, Dec. 3
AS Americans we may love automobiles, but we certainly don’t love other Americans with automobiles, especially when they are stopped in front of us in an endless garland of taillights stretching down the highway. A 2005 report by the Texas Transportation Institute said the average commuter wasted more than two days stuck in traffic every year.
Of course, for every problem there’s often a high-tech solution, and traffic is no exception. For fees ranging from $5 to $10 a month, drivers can try to beat the bumper-to-bumper blues by subscribing to services that transmit live traffic information to a car’s navigation system (Acura, BMW and Chrysler are among the companies offering such systems) warning of impending gridlock and briskly directing drivers to take alternate routes. Well, almost....

...There are three primary ways to get the information: over a cellular network and over FM radio or satellite radio broadcasts. Clear Channel’s network sends encoded information over FM signals. Some in-car systems, like those in the 2007 BMW X5 and M5, receive and decode that traffic data at no cost. Makers of portable navigation devices, however, charge as much as $60 a year for the service. Competing with Clear Channel are the satellite radio companies XM and Sirius, which charge about $10 a month for a traffic-only plan, or an additional $4 for current subscribers. XM NavTraffic is the larger of the two, covering 44 major urban areas.
The data channel of a cellular network works with cellphones, but the service usually means additional monthly charges starting at about $10. ...read more: here

12/03/2006 07:20:00 AM

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