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How does traffic update?

 

I have a Garmin 660 with an FM TMC Traffic Subscription. It normally takes 5-10 minutes for the traffic to kick in when I leave for work in the morning but on the way home, it seems to load up at the exact same spot on my commute, no matter how long it takes me to get there.

Am I just not in range of a traffic transmitter until that point? Does everyone have such slow load times for traffic? It's really frustrating that I don't get the traffic updates until I am past the point of no return on the first leg of my commute.

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-- Garmin 660 Ellicott City, MD

Traffic Update

The traffic comes from the "Clear Channel", and depending on where you are will depend on the loading. It is likely the traffic transponder you are connecting to is out of range at your home, and is "kicking in" when you get into range.

Clear Channel owns the rights to all traffic broadcasts, whether it comes from XM, Navteq or the radio/television. ALL traffic is coming from Clear Channel, and (in my humble opinion) they are the best.

The Nuvi 660 does use Clear Channel, and the subscription is $60 for lifetime...

If Clear Channel is the best...

I shudder to think what the rest are like!

My traffic is generally 15-30 minutes out of date. I am either sitting in traffic that hasn't hit the system yet or sailing through what they say is "all lanes blocked" at or above the speed limit. I find I still have to watch the traffic on the news before I leave the house and tune into traffic broadcasts in the car to make sure I don't get caught.

It's really only useful for me when there's a severe traffic problem. Sadly, that happens a fair amount on my commute.

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-- Garmin 660 Ellicott City, MD

How detailed is the traffic updates?

Does anyone have a clue about how well the Traffic feature looks at delays outside of major cities? Does it track major highway between cities? Main roads in major cities? Main roads in the suburbs? Basically I am look find out how thorough this feature is?

Re: How does traffic update?

If you go to the FM Traffic website and pull-up the coverage map of your city or area. You will see a listing of commercial FM stations at the top of the map. You may or may not recognize them.

These stations carry the traffic info on a sub-carrier. The FM Traffic reciever scans all the FM frequencies looking for the strongest signal (and the proper sub-carrier) and should settle on the strongest one. This is why the light flickers every now and then. It is doing a quick scan for the strongest signal (just like a cell phone does).

The power cord also contains the antenna for the traffic receiver. Try getting the cord higher by laying it up on the dash, or just drape it over the rear view mirror (that's what I do and it gave me an extra 12-13 miles range). I live just on the edge for our area, and sometimes I get a green light here at the house and sometimes I get an orange light. But, I almost always get a green light by the time I get to I-64, 1 mile away. I usually get a green light all the way to work and back. Let the cord lay on the floor or console, and I do not get as good reception. Edit: I work in downtown Newport News - 36.5 road miles away from home. Which is about 5 miles from an FM Traffic carrier.

Do not know what all the programming in the receiver and GPS does, but the info supplied from FM Traffic is passed on to the GPS, which then determines if any of the "Alerts" are on your "Route" and if so it notifies you with the yellow Diamond sign. Also supposed to notify you if an alert is on the same highway/road you are on.

The data about traffic alerts comes from various sources. In my area (Tidewater, VA), we must have hundreds of traffic cameras. Whether the state or someone else feeds the info to FM Traffic, I do not know. All I want to know (and most others) is if I should detour or not.

If you want to see how big the Traffic Info business is getting, go to http://www.trafficland.com/ and check out the massive number of traffic camera feeds they get from all over the world. They supply the feeds to the news outlets, and others, for a fee of course. Channel 13 in Norfolk gets their "Traffic Cams" from Trafficland, not the VA DOT. It says so right on their website.

The state also supplies bridge openings and tunnel closures. VDOT even has sensors in the road at various places to alert to traffic slowdowns or stoppages - just in case someone is looking at another camera of another logjam somewhere else.

Anyway, where FM Traffic gets its info is not a simple answer and I apologize for digressing.

But try the cord over the mirror trick. Just drape it. Don't tape, glue or knot it in place. You don't want it to be a hinderence in an accident.

--
Metricman Nuvi 660, GTM-20 Traffic Receiver Nuvi 3597 GTM-60 Traffic Receiver Williamsburg, VA

Baltimore traffic only covers major highways

Howilou wrote:

Does anyone have a clue about how well the Traffic feature looks at delays outside of major cities? Does it track major highway between cities? Main roads in major cities? Main roads in the suburbs? Basically I am look find out how thorough this feature is?

Baltimore traffic covers just the major highways, no main roads at all. Last time I drove to Upstate NY I had good coverage for all the main highways in between major cities.

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-- Garmin 660 Ellicott City, MD

Don't know why I didn't think of that

metricman wrote:

But try the cord over the mirror trick. Just drape it. Don't tape, glue or knot it in place. You don't want it to be a hinderence in an accident.

Thanks! I will give that a shot.

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-- Garmin 660 Ellicott City, MD

That worked like a charm!

metricman wrote:

But try the cord over the mirror trick. Just drape it. Don't tape, glue or knot it in place. You don't want it to be a hinderence in an accident.

I looped the cord over the passenger visor and I had traffic updates almost immediately when I plugged the unit in. Thanks so much for the great tip!

--
-- Garmin 660 Ellicott City, MD

Re: That worked like a charm!

ktempesta wrote:
metricman wrote:

But try the cord over the mirror trick. Just drape it. Don't tape, glue or knot it in place. You don't want it to be a hinderence in an accident.

I looped the cord over the passenger visor and I had traffic updates almost immediately when I plugged the unit in. Thanks so much for the great tip!

You're welcome.

Nobody told me that. Before I got a GPS, I happened to notice someone with a GPS and wondered why the cord was draped over the mirror. After I got one, it dawned on me why they were doing it, and have been doing it ever since I saw the light.

--
Metricman Nuvi 660, GTM-20 Traffic Receiver Nuvi 3597 GTM-60 Traffic Receiver Williamsburg, VA

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