FM TMC Traffic Service, Garmin

 

Today the traffic service failed me. I was heading towards Baltimore and an accident severely slowed down traffic. Even southbound traffic on I-95 was slow. As I was heading home, the traffic was congested.

I received no traffic alerts. What happened?

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Garmin Nuvi 660;Garmin GPS III+ (Biking, Hiking); Toyota Camry Hybrid with Navigation

Traffic

Mine worked fine all day today in St Louis.

David

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David

I have to check the DC

I have to check the DC adapter, I noticed it gives feedback about signal...

I checked my adapter and noticed the LED indicator was upside down. Maybe it has to have a specific orientation to work?

It worked today. Lots of traffic from Baltimore to DC. I used the "Detour"/avoid traffic feature and it bypassed the headache.

I noticed that the traffic slowdown was a reflection of the sunset in the eyes of the oncoming traffic.

Nuvi Newbie
Garmin Nuvi 660

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Garmin Nuvi 660;Garmin GPS III+ (Biking, Hiking); Toyota Camry Hybrid with Navigation

FM Traffic Receiver

This is still a relatively new technology in its infancy. How well did the first generation of portable cell phones work? When cell phone were new there were more places that they didn't work than places where they did work. As the use of this service increases and as technology improves to satisfy consumer demand the coverage will become more complete.

It is working now. What I

It is working now.

What I realized that I had to do was first enter my pin then I would reset the FM reception. It works well.

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Garmin Nuvi 660;Garmin GPS III+ (Biking, Hiking); Toyota Camry Hybrid with Navigation

Anybody using TMC Traffic in Ohio?

I am thinking about upgrading my C330 to C550 just for the traffic info. I know you have to be closer to larger cities for it to work. But don't know anybody that has it in southwest Ohio to see how well it is covered. In the short time I have been on this site have gotten a lot of useful info. Thanks everybody.

Traffic Data Coverage Maps

TDRV2000,

You can find the coverage maps at:

https://shop.garmin.com/fmtraffic/select_service_plan.asp?L=...

Just click on the city you are interested in and it will show the coverage area as well as the call letters of the radio stations that broadcast TMC Data. If you can receive the radio station on your car radio, you should be able to receive the Data Signals.

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Garmin 770RV

Does it really help?

Does the Traffic service really work? I'm interested in it, but not sure how it would really help in the DC area, since there are only a few ways in and out of the city. Am I wrong?

It Works

But it is only as good as the data that Clear Channel Transmits. Since this is pretty new, I think they are a little slow in updating. I have noticed it sometimes shows delays that have cleared already and once I was sitting in a traffic jam for 15 minutes, it finally showed up as a traffic alert.

The issue itself is not with the Receiver's capabilities, but with Clear Channel boradcasting in a timely manner. Even with the couple of issues I mentioned above, I still think it is worth it. It has helped me avoid many of the infamous Atlanta Traffic jams.

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Garmin 770RV

Quote: "Does the Traffic

Quote:
"Does the Traffic service really work? I'm interested in it, but not sure how it would really help in the DC area, since there are only a few ways in and out of the city. Am I wrong?"
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It won't help directly in the city streets but 355 is covered. There are a lot of routes into and out of the city.

It helps with the beltway traffic. I find using detours to be useful since you can cut through the suburbs.

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Garmin Nuvi 660;Garmin GPS III+ (Biking, Hiking); Toyota Camry Hybrid with Navigation

Houston area

I recieved the C550 for Christmas and LOVE the traffic info. Like others, sometimes the info is a little late; or an accident is cleared, but still shows up as an issue. Even with that said, it is something I use daily, and believe it is a wonderful tool. Recommend.

Deborah

I live in Baltimore and the

I live in Baltimore and the service is hit or miss. I think it is like they say, a radio signal. Sometimes the same roads have a clear signal without problems and sometimes it has no signal. I look at it as bad cell phone reception on overcast days, etc...

Garmin GPS III+, for bikin'

Garmin GPS III+, for bikin' and hikin'
Garmin Nuvi 660, for drivin' and cryin'

Aidos,

Am I the only one who doesn't get a signal from exit 47 to about exit 50 on I-95? There is absolutely no traffic information regarding that stretch and no reports ever happen to be broadcast.

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Garmin Nuvi 660;Garmin GPS III+ (Biking, Hiking); Toyota Camry Hybrid with Navigation

2720 and FMC Traffic

I have the GTM 12 traffic reciver plugged into my 2720. It seems to take a while to get the first signal and is not always current with the traffic informaton.

I have traveled across the country with the help of the FMC traffic. I hope it continues to improve and that more locations are added.

Travel_Man

I'm thinking about trying

I'm thinking about trying the traffic option on my c340. Sure, sometimes the traffic info will come too late or alert me to a problem that has already cleared, but right now I have to scan lots of radio stations in hopes of catching a traffic report, and when I do, the info is either too late or they're reporting a problem that has already cleared! So the quality of the information is probably about the same, but with the automated solution, at least I would be able to listen to my favorite music instead of frantically punching radio buttons while driving.

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Buz (Garmin StreetPilot c340 with GTM 12 Traffic Receiver)

you're right Buz

The receiver is only as good as the information it receives. I'd rather be aware of a traffic problem and it be cleared than not knowing at all. I received a 3 month free trial with my 550, I will be renewing. I check the traffic page before leaving the driveway to see if anything on my route is listed, if so I'll be prepared to press "Detour".
There have been a couple of times I've been "notified" with "Traffic Ahead" and it turned out to be what we might consider "normal" traffic. It was nice knowing and to be prepared just in case.

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........Garmin StreetPilot c550 / Nüvi 765...........

Only major roads

I live outside of DC and i know i get coverage for roads like 270 and 495, but has anyone ever gotten a warning or something for lesser roads like rockville pike or montrose?

I received an alert only one

I received an alert only one time for 355 as I scanned the list. I never saw traffic alerts for smaller roads such as Montrose (that would be helpful).

If it's not covered on this website, it is not covered on the Nuvi:

http://www.chart.state.md.us/travinfo/travinfo.asp

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Garmin Nuvi 660;Garmin GPS III+ (Biking, Hiking); Toyota Camry Hybrid with Navigation

Major city streets too

In Indianapolis I've seen a construction warning for 38th Street which is a major city street that crosses the city. It is not an Interstate highway or even a State highway. But it does cross the entire city from west to east.

DC Blues

The same happened to me as I got on to 495 East from 95 South going toward Norther VA. The service failed to detect a massive jam up. Also, on my Nuvi 660, the traffic alerts do not appear on my main map page. I have to go to the main menu and hit the exclamation mark if it is highlighted. Is there any way to have the traffic indications appear on the main maps?

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RKF (Bethesda, MD) Garmin Nuvi 660, 360 & Street Pilot

Do you have traffic set as an avoidance?

Under 'settings','Navigation','Avoidances' - is "traffic" checked on your unit? The way I understand it's supposed to work from the navigation map screen you should get an audible alert of a better route being available, and a screen button to select it.

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*Keith* MacBook Pro *wifi iPad(2012) w/BadElf GPS & iPhone6 + Navigon*

TMC versus Traffic.com/MSN

What I want to know, but I assume this is unanswerable, is which of the nuvis -- the 660 or the 680 -- will have the better traffic service over time. It is sort of infuriating that to step up to the 680 you have to switch from Inrix (ClearChannel) to MSN (Traffic.com) and that there is no way of knowing which of these will ultimately provide better data.

I'd say the primary reason I'm getting a GPS device at all is for traffic and other real-time and non-geographic data (including POI information). I can manage static data with maps. Of course, I'm looking forward to all the other features too.

I Checked

Thanks for the insights. I just looked and "yes" -- Avoidances are enabled and traffic is checked.

I will look further into this matter.

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RKF (Bethesda, MD) Garmin Nuvi 660, 360 & Street Pilot

Traffic

Has anyone used the traffic receiver in Nashville?

I was actually talking to

I was actually talking to someone about some of the traffic issues this weekend. One thing we both had noticed is that it seems to help a great deal if your unit has been on for at least 15 minutes or so to pick up the local traffic updates. We both had run into cases where the unit hadn't had enough time to pick up any traffic notices before we arrived at the area. I'm actually quite pleased with the traffic updates for my area (Mass) Coming home from VT this weekend, while I knew it did not have traffic coverage in Vermont, it did show me a few traffic issues in NH, well out of what I thought was it's available coverage (now if I could have only gotten the traffic notice to alert me to areas closed to 4 wheel vehicles during Laconia Bike Week..... *grin*)

Used going through Nashville

salleentn wrote:

Has anyone used the traffic receiver in Nashville?

I recently drove through Nashville. Reception worked, had traffic notices. Worked as well there as it does here in Texas.

Remember, the traffic receiver is just that, a receiver. Just like your radio. For example sake, let's say the police notify your favorite radio DJ that there is traffic or an accident on hwy xyz. You are traveling along hwy xyz and ... there is no traffic and no accident. Well, the police never notified the DJ that the traffic or accident cleared, therefore the DJ couldn't notify you.

Our traffic receivers are only going to receive and relay to us what it receives. The traffic service - the actual reporting of traffic and the clearing of the same is what needs improvement.

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........Garmin StreetPilot c550 / Nüvi 765...........

I have the 2720, also and am

I have the 2720, also and am thinking about the GTM 12. If you plug one end of the antena into the 2720, where does the other connection go? All it says is "power source" and it doesn't look like a cigarette lighter adaptor on the other end of the cable.

shouldn't be too hard to figure out

gerrydrake wrote:

I have the 2720, also and am thinking about the GTM 12. If you plug one end of the antena into the 2720, where does the other connection go? All it says is "power source" and it doesn't look like a cigarette lighter adaptor on the other end of the cable.

The manual says to connect to the usb connection under the weather cap.

The other end with the suction cups goes to the windshield.

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........Garmin StreetPilot c550 / Nüvi 765...........

Oh, I see, I thought one end

Oh, I see, I thought one end went to the unit and another to a power source like the lighter adaptor and the suction cup routed to the windshield but evidently only one conection to the unit and the other end is the suction cup.

You got it!

My gtm 20 connects to the unit and the other end goes to the cig lighter port.
The actual receiver is in the cig lighter end. Supplies pwr and traffic.

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........Garmin StreetPilot c550 / Nüvi 765...........

Houston area

Deborah,

Does is seem to be improving and getting better, I am considering using the service. Thanks for the feedback.

some info

Hey all. Just thought I would pipe in here and explain a little about how that signal is getting to your GPS.
I was a broadcast engineer for several years before moving to I.T. The traffic data that you are receiving on your GPS is transmitted on certain Clear Channel FM stations on what is called a sub-carrier. Without getting too technical, suffice it to say that it is a separate modulated signal that "rides" on the main frequency modulation. Typically, this is injected at a much much lower level than the main programming signal. It is regulated by the FCC as to what level of modulation can be present on your sub-carrier. Not only that but if the level of the sub-carrier injection is too high the main signal will begin to sound like garbage.
So what you end up with is a relatively weak signal compared to the actual stations programming.
Because of this, it is not necessarily true that if you can hear the station you can pick up the traffic signal.
Further, I am sure that the signal is digital which makes it even more finicky. So if the signal gets weak, it simply goes away.......as a digital signal is either there or it is not. People living in flat geographic areas will probably notice that they have better reception of the traffic service than those of us that live in mountainous regions. This is why as you approach a large city you can usually pick up the traffic signal much better. Large cities (NY, Boston, LA) are so saturated with radio frequencies that the reciever while scanning is bound to find one of these subcarriers that is coming in strongly enough to get a good data stream. IN the city itself is another story though....tall buildings will easily block the sub-carrier much of the time......but then.....your sattellites are blocked too and your navigation is probably not working all that well either.
When I was working in radio we used to use our FM subcarrier for various things including talk back from the studio for doing live broadcasts. We had separate receivers that would just pick up the sub-carrier. There were many times, especially while inside a building that we could hear our FM station fine........but could not pick up the sub-carrier at all. Coming from the broadcast world.....honestly I am surprised it works as well as it does.
I am not sure how MSN gets their information to the receiver but it could be in the same manner. They may have their own antennas mounted on various towers for the local radio stations as well.....or may be "leasing" the sub-carrier of other FM stations.
As to the question of whether the service will get "better" or not over time.... The only way it will get better the way it is delivered now is if more stations' sub-carriers are added to the network. The only way I can really see us having a solid traffic signal always....no matter where we are is if they put it up on a sattellite and build a GPS that will also recieve that information from that sattellite. Which is entirely possible for Clear Channel to do as they own some birds of their own.
Hope that helps understand the sporatic nature of the traffic service a little.

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Nuvi 660

Love it!

In March my free trial ended. I went about 2-3 days without it, and could not stand not having it anymore. I did pay for the subscription. It still has the same issues, sometimes I arrive at a traffic incident, and it shows up when I arrive at it, or have past it already. Or an incident already is clear when I arrive at the location. But it is still a great deal, $5.00 a month, about the cost of a starbucks coffee, well worth it, even if it is accurate 75% of the time. I have even gotten to use it when traveling. I do recommend it.

Deborah
Houston, TX
DJKM@aol.com

free trial

Just go a nuvi 660. Do I have to do anything to activate the 3mos. trial or is it on automatically?

It starts when...

You turn on your 660 in the car with the power cable/receiver hooked up and it acquires a data signal.

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*Keith* MacBook Pro *wifi iPad(2012) w/BadElf GPS & iPhone6 + Navigon*

thanks

thanks

Thanks for the information!

Thanks for the information!

C550 Traffic in Cincinnati

TDRV2000 wrote:

I am thinking about upgrading my C330 to C550 just for the traffic info. I know you have to be closer to larger cities for it to work. But don't know anybody that has it in southwest Ohio to see how well it is covered. In the short time I have been on this site have gotten a lot of useful info. Thanks everybody.

I am using it around Cincinnati for about the past 3 weeks. I haven't found it to be very helpful in that slowdowns are not noted for the most part. I'll see soon how helpful it is in Pittsburgh and Chicago, I expect more help from the unit.

Do you get an alert?

I have a nuvi 350, does the traffic service have an audio alert that notifies you when a traffic incident is located on your current route?

I have been using the FM

I have been using the FM traffic receiver with my 2720 for about 6 weeks and only twice has there been an audio alert notifying me of an accident. Truthfully, it surprised me becuse it was something I had not heard previously. I can't recall for sure if I was on a 'route' or not. But I am certain that there has been more than 2 accident in the Phoenix area in the last 6 weeks so I am reluctant to believe that it is working normally. I would be interested as well to know if it is 'normal' to get routine audio alerts of traffic congestion or accidents.

I have been using the FM

I have been using the FM traffic receiver with my 2720 for about 6 weeks and only twice has there been an audio alert notifying me of an accident. Truthfully, it surprised me becuse it was something I had not heard previously. I can't recall for sure if I was on a 'route' or not. But I am certain that there has been more than 2 accident in the Phoenix area in the last 6 weeks so I am reluctant to believe that it is working normally. I would be interested as well to know if it is 'normal' to get routine audio alerts of traffic congestion or accidents.

normal

If on a route you will get a display (diamond) if it's traffic there will be a number in the diamond. This is the number of minutes delay. Touch the diamond for additional info.
Here's a pdf for my gtm-20, near the bottom of the page are the symbols used.

Traffic symbols

If you are not on a route you will get an audible alert as well as the symbol, touch the symbol for additional info.

You will get traffic alerts, if not on a "route", but you will only get the alert for the road you are currently on.

On my c550 from the main page, I have a traffic symbol (two cars) I press that and get all the traffic info in my area. I can review that before starting a trip.

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........Garmin StreetPilot c550 / Nüvi 765...........

Thanks for your imput.

Thanks for your imput. Evidently, I was NOT on a route when I got the audible alert that there was an accident 10 miles ahead. As you stated, when on a route, I get the little diamond icon with number of minutes in delay and additional icons indicating there is traffic delay or accident.

just to be clear

You will get the diamond whether on a route or not.

Of course, if not on a route, you'll have no option to detour / avoid

The audible alert is also slightly different. If on a route with slow traffic, I'll hear... "slow traffic ahead"
Today, while not on a route I heard "entering slow traffic area"
Yesterday while not on a route I heard "road closure ##miles ahead" {there was an accident that closed the road}

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........Garmin StreetPilot c550 / Nüvi 765...........

Wow, that sounds great but

Wow, that sounds great but I'm not sure mine is that effecient. I never get that kind of audio information. Hopefully, it will improve.

Just depends

Really depends on where you're at, and of course the traffic. The other is, how efficiently the traffic conditions are reported in order for your receiver to receive the report. There are/will be times you will be in traffic and you will get no notification. As well as getting reports of traffic and you are alone on the highway.
All in all, it works for me and my most traveled locations.

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........Garmin StreetPilot c550 / Nüvi 765...........