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TomTom pledges to tackle traffic

Satnavs for all! Er... no...

TomTom wants to ease UK traffic congestion, but it didn't go so far as to hand out free satnavs to make it happen.

Instead, it will offer its traffic database to local authority planners to help them based road layout and traffic routing schemes on real-world road usage patterns.

That's the same data TomTom's satnavs use to plan routes by taking into account the likely traffic conditions along the possible routes to your destination at the time you travel. It calls the technology IQ Routes.

One obvious solution is to give every driver IQ Routes journey planning, but TomTom has thought of that. It stressed that the "minority of drivers using an accurate traffic navigation system to detour around jams can benefit the majority of drivers not using such data".

In short, TomTom users' gadgets can steer their owners out of the way of the rest of us. Get enough TomTom users planning their way away from congestion, the company claimed, and it can be sufficient to cut journey times for all vehicles.

Individual drivers using TomTom's HD Traffic over-the-air traffic update service can typically reduce their average journey time by up to 15 per cent, the company said. The collective effect of ten per cent of drivers using such a service could reduce average journey times for everyone else by up to five per cent, TomTom reckons. ®

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