Wed, Jan 21, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Standardized traffic information offered on the nation’s GPS

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Institute of Transportation (IOT) and the Police Radio Station jointly developed a traffic update channel on the radio data system (RDS) that offers a standardized information format for the nation’s global positioning system (GPS) manufacturers.

IOT deputy director-general Jennifer Wu (吳玉珍) said the radio station was known among motorists for its traffic report service.

She said that the institute had installed eight decoders next to the station’s radio transmitters nationwide that can turn voice signals into data, which can be provided free of charge to GPS manufacturers.

Wu said the new service was expected to save motorists a substantial amount of money on the acquisition of traffic information updates.

Before the service was offered, GPS manufacturers had to work with mobile phone service operators and used their network to transmit data, which could be very costly.

Wu said the new service should prompt mobile phone service operators to lower their fees for traffic reports.

The IOT said the traffic information channel would incorporate information from police stations, local freeway and highway construction bureaus and government transportation bureaus in 15 city and county governments.

The information would be made available on the GPS system, including updated traffic reports on national freeways and expressways, estimated driving speeds and weather reports.

The information would be updated every three minutes.

By June, 23 cities and counties will be able to upload traffic reports, Wu said.

The institute has been evaluating the performance of the counties that received government funding for providing updated information on traffic. The results of the evaluation will affect each county’s funding for next year, she said.

Wu said the service was open to GPS manufacturers, adding that many have tested it to see whether the channel was compatible with their own systems.

At present, GPS systems produced by TomTom, Garmin, Panasonic, Papago and Mio support the traffic information channel.

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