Everyone who's ever been stuck in traffic always would love to know exactly what the road conditions are like. Sure there's those news radio stations that interrupt every three minutes to tell you how the freeway you're on is totally backed up, but those often don't tell you how to route yourself around the problem. TomTom and Vodafone have just partnered to create a new type of commercial traffic data system based on thousands of mobile phones that will describe traffic conditions in real-time. The idea is that by using the regular signaling information between the handset and the base station, the location and speed of the handset can be determined at any given time. Combine that information across a region among thousands of drivers who become data points, and a picture emerges of how backed a given freeway really is -- enabling TomTom to provide detours much more quickly than previously possible. The program is set to be launched in the Netherlands in the second half of 2007 -- so for all you folks who commute into the Dutch metropolises of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht, you may want to renew your Vodafone subscription pronto.

[Via Reg Hardware]

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Vodafone, TomTom partner to create real-time traffic data network