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Low Cost Alternative to Road Tolls - TMC

Low Cost Alternative to Road Tolls - TMC

26 January 2006

"Rather than penalising road users with more taxes to force them to use alternate routes, there is a much more viable solution available for vehicles using the latest in-car navigation solutions", according to Luigi Cappel of GeoSmart Limited.

Today's sophisticated in-car navigation systems as offered by brands in NZ such as Siemens VDO and Navman have the ability to accept information from a broadcast technology called Traffic Message Channel (TMC) which is a development of the Radio Data System (RDS) used by a small number of NZ radio stations to display information on car stereo and/or navigation displays, such as the name of a song or artist currently being played on the radio.

Where it differs from standard RDS is that the navigation displays can receive information relating specifically to the route the vehicle is currently driving in. For example, a truck about to travel from Auckland's North Shore to Onehunga might receive a message saying that traffic is extremely slow and offering an alternative route using the North Western Motorway.

The truck doesn't need to know that the Desert Rd is closed due to heavy snowfalls, because it is not relevant to the route. A low cost standalone TMC receiver is also available to connect to suitable car stereo units for people who have not installed a car navigation system.

Geospatial solution provider GeoSmart, which provides the mapping data for navigation solutions, had discussions last year Transit New Zealand and others about a joint effort to establish a TMC network. Cappel said "If the Mayors of Auckland, Waitakere and Manukau want to influence the flows of traffic through their corridors and main roads, this system could be set up at a small fraction of the cost of other solutions. Bottlenecks could be managed in real time, easing the burden on commercial road users."

"Conditions on our roads are dynamic", said Cappel. "TMC guided navigation would allow commercial traffic to avoid any incidents, including accidents, flooding and traffic jams wherever they may be. Toll Roads only have the effect of managing a specific incident or form of driver behaviour, but does not address any other incidents that may occur.

Consider what might happen if all north-south traffic started to go via the North Western Motorway because of Road Tolls and you then have gridlock on the alternate route. You would not have the flexibility to push everyone back in the other direction. A TMC solution can manage and disperse traffic efficiently throughout all roads, not just key problem areas such as the Victoria Park over-bridge in Auckland."

Road user costs continue to rise and must feed back into the economy, further fuelling inflation. In-car navigation systems are coming down in price as more businesses start using them. A TMC solution could provide rapid relief for motorists in a fraction of the time that it will take to expand our roading network.

About GeoSmart Limited

GeoSmart is the premier aerial photography and mapping company in New Zealand. In addition to being the leading supplier of cartographic and aerial maps, they are blazing the trail in digital Smart Maps including in-car navigation, vehicle tracking and fleet management. GeoSmart provides Location Based Services (LBS) intelligent maps for the widest range of devices including PC's, PDA's, Smartphones and Mobiles. This includes features such as 'Where is?', 'Where are my assets?', 'How do I get from - to-?' for example.

Clients include Wises Maps, DOC, Vodafone, Automobile Association, NavMan, Siemens VDO, Toll Rail, BMW, Holden, Mitsubishi, Honda in addition to virtually every local body in New Zealand and Transit NZ.


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