The service (which I'm trying out on a trial basis, does not seem to be consistent. I could be in bumper-to-bumper traffic with no indication from the service of any current slow-downs. But it will invariably tell me that there is slow traffic several miles up the road.
Also, I am told that the fee you pay for the service only applies to one area. If you want traffic info on other areas, you have to pay additional fees. Can anyone confirm this?
All areas that clear channel provides traffic for on the radio are included in the subscription price.
Some of the traffic reports are dependent on working speed sensors in the road. I wish there were more working loops in the area so more speed info was available.
The service isn't perfect but it is helpful.
I agree with capst, it's not 100% accurate all of time, but for the most part it, it is useful. I plan on renewing the subscription this year. As far as coverage, this should help:
I have MSN and it works for any city that they cover. I think the other service is similar to MSN.
I find the service useful at times for planning my route. But too often I'm in thick soup before I find out how thick the soup is. The delay shown is sometimes inaccurate because I think it based upon an estimate of a speed range not an actual speed.
As an example of an actual event, last Saturday night about 10:00 PM, there was road construction going on the freeway but my Garmin told me to go that way since it was the quickest way. I was shown a one-minute delay and a color of red for a small patch. I was not rerouted around the incident shown by MSN by my Garmin 680 because it thought the delay was only one minute. But six lanes merged into one lane. So the delay was about 45 minutes. I think it because the speed range is figured like 0-33 % of normal speed = red so it assumed it would take 3 times as long (= one minute). But the backup was longer than shown and the speed was more like 0-1MPH or about 1%.
I could have taken another freeway which would have added about two minutes and was not under construction. But since it figured a one minute delay, it thought going through a merge of six lanes would still be faster. So in this case it sent me into a much longer trip time.
The only two times the Garmin 680 actually rerouted me in route, it routed me over surface streets which I know typically have heavy traffic and several traffic lights. I know from experience it would have taken about 30-40 minutes extra over the freeway to go on the detour the garmin automatically calculated. I also know from experience that there is a backup on the freeway at the locations the Garmin routed me around. I've learned that it is faster to go through the traffic on the freeway than to take the surface streets to go around it. But since Garmin / MSN doesn't account for the traffic lights or the actual speed of traffic on the surface streets, it incorrectly calculates a faster time on the surface streets.
On Monday I went on a day trip out of the city. I was surprised how far out I still have coverage. But when I came back into town, I had no information on traffic until I had already past the middle of town and was on the way back out.
Yesterday the same thing happened but I never left town. I just didn't have coverage for a long time after I powered up the unit. I had to use my own experience to make a historical judgement instead of having almost real time information.
On a trip, I was routed into heavy traffic instead of around it. I incorrectly assumed that it knew best since I didn't know the area.
I learned you have to make your own judgement and factor your own experience into it which often leads me too ignore the unit and go the way I know anyway.
Until both services account for red lights delays and other traffic delays on surface streets, all they can really do is tell you about alternate routes you could take but they can't really tell you the fastest route to take and both Garmin and MSN (and the other guys) should have a disclaimer of such if you ask me!
I'm still glad I have the information the unit provides and hope one day it will really do what I bought it to do which was help me avoid traffic and shorten the time of a trip. I can't really say it has provided that yet and I'm not sure when it comes time to renew if I will or not. I guess I would renew and continue to support the service if I saw some progress and plans to address these issues even if the service remained flawed in the sort term. But in the long term it has to get better or the word will get out and they won't be able to give the service away.
As far as MSN vs the other service, I read similar stories posted about it. I don't think either one in general is better but one might have better coverage for a specific area than the other service.
As we have discussed here, the traffic services are varied. Part of the reason is that each of the radio stations reporting report differently. You may have a reporter that does a great job of getting the traffic info in, determining a major jam and getting this info into the data set that goes out over the broadcast. The next person may just put down the traffic is slow, and not choose to classify it as a "major" delay, thereby circumventing the GPS's ability to route effectively.
I can't tell you how many calls we get from people who are angry about the traffic, mostly because they do not understand how it works. They think the satellites "see" the traffic and this is how the reports are put in.
I want you all to know that I appreciate this forum, and know for a fact that most of the Garmin techs recomend it. While Garmin does catch some heat here, most of what is written is honest and true, and most of it is fair. On occasion we see some false claims, but generally it is honest and forthright.
As for the POI files, you guys/gals ROCK! I personally use them a lot, and we techs highly recomend the use of these files. We know the POI files are NOT perfect coming from Navteq, but if you have something you want, you can find it here! I want to personally thank all of you for the help!
And we appreciate you Garmintech for all the knowledge that you bring to the Poi Factory Forum.
I'm glad the sentiments are mutual
Yes we are honored to have you with us, it really shows how much you love your job and support your company that in your spare time you would come hang out with a bunch of GPS addicts like ourselves.
As we have discussed here, the traffic services are varied. Part of the reason is that each of the radio stations reporting report differently.
I may not understand how the traffic service works but I do know it doesn't come from the satellites. I also appreciate how Garmin doesn't have any control over the content and that MSN doesn't either. I had thought that the traffic map was a feed from another service which uses primarily traffic cameras / sensors in each city. Here in Atlanta only the routes with traffic camera's seem to be reported. Could you explain how this works then?
On a side note, while I am very happy with certain things about my Garmin Nuvi 680, I am disappointed with the MSN content and the capability to customize and edit using a PC. However, I am happy with Garmin as a company for two reasons. The Tech supports I received from you guys rocks. You guys know your product, seem to actually like helping people, and are just a pleasure to deal with. Garmin has treated me fairly. Thanks for posting!
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