GPS Reviews & Technology

Traffic Message Channel (TMC) Traffic and Travel Information for GPS Navigators

Traffic Message Channel (TMC) is an extra paid service which delivers information about traffic conditions to suitably equipped GPS navigators including heavy traffic, delays, accidents, road works, black spots and speed cameras. When integrated into route calculations traffic information gives a driver options for alternative routes to avoid delays saving time and fuel. Many traffic services also provide travel information.


garmin nuvi 2×5 series featuring Traffic Message Channel (TMC)
Traffic information can be digitally coded using the FM-RDS (FM Radio Data System) on ordinary FM radio broadcasts or transmitted on DAB or satellite radio. These methods silently deliver current traffic and travel information without disrupting normal services. Signals broadcast by a communications satellite naturally have a wider coverage than ground based radio transmitters.

A wide variety of available data is used for compiling traffic alerts including departments of transportation, police and emergency services, government and private traffic sensors, cameras and airborne reports.

Service features and quality varies between the providers and different locations. Areas of coverage need to be checked prior to purchasing a TMC enabled automotive GPS navigator.

Countries with Traffic and Travel Information Services
Australia, Austria, Baltic region, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iran, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States of America

United States of America and Canada TMC Providers
MSN Direct is available in 100 of the largest cities across the United states.

Total Traffic Network (Clear Channel) serves more than 125 metropolitan markets in four countries, including the United States, Canada, Mexico and New Zealand. Total Traffic Network delivers real-time traffic data via in-car or portable navigation systems, broadcast media, wireless and Internet-based services.

NAVTEQ Traffic delivers a TMC service using a wide variety of technologies including satellite (to 79 major metropolitan markets), FM-RDS, wireless mobile networks (Traffic Mobile), Internet (Traffic ML – delivered in XML format) and hybrid digital (HD) radio.

XM NavTraffic is a satellite-delivered traffic information service with coverage available in 80 total metropolitan areas, 77 in the U.S. and 3 in Canada. NAVTEQ Traffic is the traffic data aggregator for the XM NavTraffic service.

United Kingdom TMC Providers
TrafficMaster’s Smartnav service provides traffic and road incident data.

ITIS has a nationally broadcast RDS-TMC traffic service.

Australian TMC Providers
The Suna Traffic Channel (Intelematics Australia) RDS TMC based traffic service covers Australian capital cities Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. CNET Australia has noted that they expect Suna will roll out TMC services in Perth, Adelaide and Canberra in 2009. Traffic information is sourced from a combination of several advanced ITS (intelligent transport system) technologies, in particular the traffic light control systems (particularly SCATS) and specialist traffic flow modelling technology developed by the Australian company Custom Traffic Pty Ltd. There is also a broadband (Internet) XML-TMC feed for online traffic related applications.

Resources GPS Traffic and Travel Information Services
GPS traffic messaging FAQ

Traveller Information Services Association (TISA) established to ensure an international framework for traffic and travel information services and products.

Categories: GPS Technology

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