TomTom shows signs of life with Traffic Manifesto, aims to shorten European travel times by 5 percent

We're actually surprised that TomTom's still going strong after Google and Nokia unleashed their free satnav offerings many months ago. If you need some convincing, try this: following the launch of its Go Live 1000 series earlier this month, TomTom has just published a manifesto on its mission to encourage "better use of existing road capacity," and eventually "reduce journey times for everyone by up to 5 percent where there is traffic." Actually, by "everyone" TomTom means Europe, and according to its computer simulations, this would apparently require 10 percent of the continent's drivers to be hooked up to its HD Traffic active load-balancing service. There's no time frame given here, but it'll probably be awhile -- in the video after the break, CEO Harold Goddijn admits that out of TomTom's 45 million drivers, only about 1 million (or 2.2 percent) are currently connected to its live services. That said, this figure might get a little boost once TomTom starts providing free traffic data to radio stations and TV channels as part of its manifesto (in return for some cheap publicity, of course).

On a related note, TomTom has also just rolled out HD Traffic 4.0, touting its "higher accuracy, reporting up to 200 percent more traffic jams during rush hours than previously." Existing HD Traffic customers from eight nations -- including Switzerland -- need not fiddle with anything to utilize the new service, and by year's end seven more countries will join the party. Meanwhile, we're still waiting on TomTom's own take on the App Store -- who knows if the company will even survive long enough to reach its goals. We kid, we kid. Or do we?%Gallery-103666%

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Traffic Manifesto Launched To Reduce UK Road Congestion

London, 30 September 2010 – TomTom publishes its Traffic Manifesto today in a bid to reduce traffic congestion by making better use of the existing road network. The aim is to build a community of drivers who, by driving as a 'collective', will cut journey times by up to 5% across the UK for all vehicles.

New data analysed by the TomTom HD Traffic Centre* reveals the top 25 most congested roads in Britain. Topping the list is Bedford Road in Clapham, London SW4 – bottlenecked for an average of 92 hours every week.

Second worst is Kingsway Tunnel Approach in the Wirral (90 hours) - followed by the B5159 in Warburton, the Eastern Bypass Road in Oxford and the A30 in Basingstoke (all 86 hours).

In addition, the morning rush "hour" is starting ever earlier, now lasting between 2.5 and 3 hours with traffic significant from 5.30am onwards on major roads. "For many drivers, traffic congestion has become inevitable", says Harold Goddijn, TomTom's CEO. "We think it's time to challenge conventional thinking with a working solution to reduce traffic congestion right now on a very large scale."

The central theme of the Traffic Manifesto is that a minority of drivers using accurate traffic congestion information to detour around jams can benefit the majority of drivers not using such data. This means the road system is loaded more effectively, with informed users not contributing to the congestion because they take a detour.

Individual drivers using TomTom's HD Traffic service, for example, can typically reduce their average journey time by up to 15%. The collective effect of 10% of drivers using such a service would reduce average journey times for everyone else by up to 5%, according to the company's estimates. This in turn would help reduce the £8bn lost by the UK national economy each year through traffic congestion.

The four key objectives of the TomTom Manifesto are:

- to encourage every driver to play a role in reducing traffic congestion by better journey planning
- to increase the availability of HD Traffic in the UK and across Europe
- to lead the continuous improvement of traffic and route guidance technology
- to bring together key traffic stakeholders to share ideas and drive actions forward.

Plans include holding an annual traffic summit and conducting the world's largest consumer driving experiment. TomTom will also make its huge archive of measured road speed data available to local governments for more effective road traffic planning and management, such as better identification of bottlenecks and badly-controlled traffic lights.

TomTom has invested years in developing the very best traffic navigation system. Drivers are connected online - via a portable navigation device, smartphone or in-dash solution - so when a faster route becomes available, they are first to know.

The HD Traffic navigation system combines the world's most accurate traffic information with dynamic route guidance technology. HD Traffic information is the most accurate in the world, covering more miles on both secondary and main roads. It reports traffic jams with higher accuracy and also refreshes more frequently than any other service. Drivers can also use TomTom's HD Traffic information online, free of charge, to plan their journey around a time when their route is less busy and in doing so will further reduce congestion.

"We know that traffic congestion is not going to disappear completely, but we can do something significant to reduce it today," adds Harold Goddijn. "We're embarking on this mission because we love driving and hate traffic. We know that millions of drivers around the world feel the same way. We believe that TomTom has a role to play in helping to reduce traffic congestion in countries across the world, working in partnership with governments, institutions, businesses and individuals."

*Top 25 UK congested road information available from HD Traffic, available upon request

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Next generation traffic technology puts TomTom drivers in the fast lane

New HD Traffic 4.0 delivers unprecedented traffic navigation accuracy

Amsterdam, 30 September 2010 – TomTom today releases its next generation traffic system across Europe, becoming the first company to use historic, real-time and predictive traffic data to deliver the most accurate traffic navigation available. HD Traffic 4.0 covers more of the road network and reports traffic jams with more accuracy, giving drivers the most precise traffic information in Europe. Existing HD Traffic customers will experience the benefits immediately, without the need for any software upgrade.

TomTom's real-time and predictive traffic technology now detects traffic jams that other services are unable to. HD Traffic 4.0 reports traffic jams with higher accuracy, reporting up to 200% more traffic jams during rush hours than previously, in particular on urban roads. Combined with the fastest routing engine available, HD Traffic 4.0 gets drivers through traffic faster.

The more people that drive with TomTom HD Traffic, the more accurate the traffic information becomes. Today, with over one million connected drivers using HD Traffic across Europe, TomTom's traffic information is able to adapt to changing traffic situations and guide drivers though traffic with more precision than ever.

Ralf-Peter Schäfer, Traffic Director, TomTom, said: "Our Tom traffic information is now the best in Europe. We are seeing unprecedented levels of jam accuracy on highways and secondary roads including major urban roads. The bottom line is our traffic information is now at a level where HD Traffic users already can reduce their journey time on average by 15%."

The roll out of HD Traffic 4.0 underpins the launch of TomTom's Traffic Manifesto. The Manifesto outlines how a minority of drivers using HD Traffic could reduce traffic congestion for all drivers by making better use of the existing road network.

"New TomTom GO LIVE 1000 navigation devices combine HD Traffic 4.0 with speedier route calculation to get drivers through traffic jams faster than ever," continued Ralf-Peter Schäfer, TomTom. "HD Traffic 4.0 is a key milestone for all our customers. We are committed to the research and development of innovative solutions to help reduce traffic congestion for our customers in the future."