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iTIS or TrafficMaster
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GPS_fan
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 11:11 am    Post subject: iTIS or TrafficMaster Reply with quote

Does anybody have an opinion as to which TMC provider is the better option Question

It's my understanding that iTIS use sensors in vehicles (ie the Eddie Stobart truck fleet etc) whilst TrafficMaster use fixed sensors on motorways and other major roads.

iTIS TMC information is obtained via Classic FM, whilst TrafficMaster TMC may be obtained via a number of local radio stations.

Some GPS systems use iTIS by default, whereas others use TrafficMaster by default and it's difficult to gauge which may be better in the individual manufacturers' forums.

However, when it come to reporing traffic problems via TMC on GPS systems, I don't know which option is found to be more satisfctory by GPS users.

Does anybody know which system has the greatest UK coverage?

Is there any preference as to which system reports problems?
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Darren
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 11:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just had the opportunity to test two systems side by side that used the different providers. And the outcome?......

They were both poor, both had problems getting TMC data at different points and the data reported was equally variable.

I couldn't rate either as being better than the other Sad
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GPS_fan
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 1:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting.

The TrafficMaster infrastructure has been in place for several years and several radio stations quote TrafficMaster as the source for their traffic bulletins.

Is the problem therefore down to TMC reception and data handling within the GPS unit?

I guess that the 'belt and braces' approach of GPS with TMC in conjunction with radio traffic bulletins and/or TrafficMaster Freeway may be the better option until/unless TMC technology improves.

This is the problem with blazing the way with new technology I guess Confused
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GPS_fan
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Darren,

One vital question I forgot to ask was:

which GPS system(s) were you using side by side?
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Darren
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 2:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For the TMC test I was using ViaMichelin (iTIS) and Navigon (TrafficMaster).

iTIS use fixed sensors as well as fleet sensors much the same as TrafficMaster. I think the main issue with TMC-FM is the delivery method, there are far too many reception blackspots on both services. On a 250 mile journey from the South East to North wales along M40, M6, M56 I was lucky to have reception for 20% of the journey.

The data wasn't noticably more detailed on TrafficMaster but it would be unfair to rate that without having actually experienced actual traffic issues etc.
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Hamie
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 5:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Considering both are as bad as each other with regards to accuracy, you might be better of considering which device gives the best view of traffic onscreen.

The TT series (Unless it's changed) only shows traffic on your current route. But the traffic indicator on the side of the screen is very good. I dislike it (The TT) because the Internet feed was pants (I used the free trial & decided it was too crap to waste good money on a subscription) and because it wouldn't show you traffic NOT on your route (So if you detoured off a perfectly good route you could go round the corner & find yourself stuck in traffic).

The garmin USED to have a great display. The reviews all show wonderful traffic icons on the main screen etc. Now (With latest firmware) it shows NOTHING unless you about moving from the main nav screen to a separate traffic screen. Quite how they work out that this is better I have no idea, but I'm a control freak. I'm not going to blindly follow some piece of electronics without knowing WHY it's routed me a particular way.
I want to see traffic always (And have something on screen to show whether I'm getting traffic) even when I'm not following a route. Sadly garmin seem to disagree. Bad garmin.


I'm not sure about the NavMan or others... I did look at Navman but they're either too expensive & bulky or too small screened (The Garmin Nuvi has a wonderful screen. A shame that the UI people at garmin seem to have lost the plot).

H
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hamie wrote:
Considering both are as bad as each other with regards to accuracy, you might be better of considering which device gives the best view of traffic onscreen.


Yes Hamie, that would be useful to know - but, unfortunately, Darren said that he didn't encounter any traffic issues so we'll have to rely on other members to report such findings.

In the lack of any really useful information relating to TMC, I was hoping that somebody may be able to pass on their experience(s) of either provider so that people may be able to make an informed decision.

Sadly, it seems more a case of choosing the GPS and then going with the default TMC provider, regardless of how good, bad or indifferent any feature may be - but with maps and navigation, there seems to be information and TMC is such new technology that nobody seems to really know that much about it.
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swing
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 11:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

GPS_fan wrote:
Is the problem therefore down to TMC reception and data handling within the GPS unit?
Sort of.

The problem is that the SatNav manufacturers are shipping small little weak radios with poor antennas (for portability) that work fine in nearly every country in the world, except the UK, because of the low radio signal strength allowed across the country.

TMC units that can connect to better aerials / into the car aerial circuit fair much better at receiving traffic information, from either source.
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tony60
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What do we have to do or who do we try and put the pressure on to get the radio signal improved to continental standards.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 8:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tony, the real answer is to get the TMC manufacturers to come up with a decent RF front end to the kit they are selling and equip the device with an external socket (like Navman, as well as few others) to enable the easy connection of an external aerial - "shoe string" aerials just don't do the job, and the reception problem is further compounded with being inside the vehicle. Further more why should you have to put up with cables strewn all over the inside of the car? - external feeds, even coupled to the vehicles existing aerial would enable the wiring to be hidden from view whilst providing a quality signal. (lecture over - I am sure they know what they are designing and building Crying or Very sad ).

The UK transmitters are not in ideal locations, often being remote and stuck on the top of hills well away from the areas they service. If you look at the power levels and locatons in France for example they are of similar power levels, but much closer to towns/ cities (quite often being in the town/ city itself).

I use both TomTom and Garmin RDS-TMC, neither of which currently work in anything like a reliable way - when the connection does work the information can be quite useful, but I don't trust it 100% other factors such as the gantry signs on the motorways and the traffic updates via the radio are handy to work out what is "really going on"

Even using the GPRS system can be hit and miss, although the connection is much more reliable the data at times is out of date - it has saved me a few hours when certain motorways have been closed due to accidents etc, then again it has also routed me into 90 minute plus traffic jams when leaving a busy motorway in bad weather. The downside to GPRS is the cost, I am lucky in some respects with a flat rate GPRS taffif so I don't rack up a huge bill and Route 66 comes with free Traffic information over GPRS. Even with the Route 66 though the method to display traffic information leaves quite a bit to be desired.

Out of all the systems TMC via GPRS on the TomTom 910 offers the best solution IMHO, you can even get it to read out the incidents on route, if they can resolve the receiver problems, and improve the data (which it has to be said is getting better) then I would trust the technology more than I currently do - Mike
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mikealder wrote:
and improve the data (which it has to be said is getting better) then I would trust the technology more than I currently do
My only problem is that every year for the last few years, people have been saying the iTIS traffic data is said to be getting better...

I find the Trafficmaster data sufficiently accurate, although again the signal reception problems make it difficult to rely solely on TMC (I also have another traffic system in the car which does work reliably for alerts to really serious problems).
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GPS_fan
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 7:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like so many other things, I think personal preference may play a part.

As far as I've ascertained, iTIS reports such things as traffic light failures, which aren't covered by TrafficMaster.

As for the reception issue, the shoestring aerial is cheap and therefore supplied with the TMC receiver.

There have been a few suggestions in this forum for splitting the signal from the car aerial, but the technically less competant of us may be rather reluctant to go hacking into cables like this - especially when there are other issues like "after I've split the aerial, how do I put a 2.5mm jack on the end for my GPS?"
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 10:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

GPS_fan wrote:
As far as I've ascertained, iTIS reports such things as traffic light failures, which aren't covered by TrafficMaster.
Indeed - TM concentrate on traffic delays which affect you beyond a set time delay, which personally I find generally more useful - ie telling me about actual delays, not just potential sites that could cause problems.

Out of interest, does the traffic light failure information occur often...?

Darren - despite the problems with reception, are you planning to release the results of your side by side testing as a review here?
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 10:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

swing wrote:
Darren - despite the problems with reception, are you planning to release the results of your side by side testing as a review here?

I hope to but really want some real world traffic jam experience to compare the two. Sadly this isn't as easy as you'd think as I struggle to get reception on all the major arterial and M-Ways near to me so have to rely on jaunts. Got a few long journeys coming up over half term so hopefully we can compare the two providers then Smile
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 1:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Swing,

I've only noticed the traffic light failure reported once on a busy road not covered by TrafficMaster.

Also, after the initial novelty value of TMC has worn off, I tend to drive with the map displayed instead of looking at the traffic reports - which is potentially quite distracting.

Sorry it's not much of an answer
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