Radio Data System-Traffic Message Channel (RDS-TMC) is rapidly gaining traction in North America but its popularity may be fleeting, according to ABI Research. It’s currently the most cost-effective and the most popular method of delivering traffic data to portable devices, but ABI principal analyst Dan Benjamin suggested “it won't necessarily have sufficient bandwidth for some of the more dynamic applications that will appear later," including more comprehensive flow data, and expansion of coverage from primary highways to secondary and tertiary roads.
"It seems clear that more bandwidth will be needed, but what the preferred conduit for that extra bandwidth is, is an issue that's still up in the air," Benjamin said. Broadcasters must keep next-generation traffic offerings cost-competitive against satellite radio and cellular data.
New digital formats such as DMB-T and HD-Radio will allow broadcasters to offer the bandwidth, but they are not yet being used for traffic information. Benjamin said navigation vendors have to determine which new technology to adopt and then decide how soon to adopt it, based on how quickly they think better sources of traffic data will come online.
Benjamin’s report, “Real-Time Traffic Information: Services and Infrastructure for Data Collection and Delivery,” evaluates the use of cellular, satellite, RDS-TMC, VICS, DSRC and digital radio technologies for real-time traffic systems, as well as the use of embedded roadway sensors, acoustic sensors, video, radar, microwave, RFID and DSRC for collection of traffic information.