Steer Clear of Traffic Gridlock

SUNA Traffic Channel is Australia’s first real-time traffic information service for GPS navigation systems

•           World-first service helps drivers instantly avoid traffic congestion, road accidents

•           Service will initially cover 75% of Australia’s urban population

 

The odds of avoiding unnecessary traffic congestion have tipped in motorists’ favour with the launch today of Australia’s first digital traffic information service.  SUNA Traffic Channel, developed by Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV) subsidiary Intelematics Australia, broadcasts detailed information on traffic congestion and other road conditions directly to GPS navigation systems, in real-time.

Armed with the new service, motorists can make informed decisions to be redirected around accidents, traffic jams and other hazards or to anticipate and sit through delays.  Properly informed drivers can now arrive at their destinations without unnecessary frustration, thereby contributing to safer driving conditions.  SUNA will also help motorists to cut their travel times through city and greater metropolitan areas, while potentially reducing their fuel consumption by minimising stop/start driving on congested roads.

From today, Intelematics has made SUNA available to Australia’s navigation and automotive industries.  SUNA is now commercially available in Melbourne and testing is under way in Sydney and Brisbane.  Melbourne was selected for the first service release, owing to the assistance of VicRoads and Melbourne’s position as the hub for Australia’s automotive industry.  SUNA’s full availability in Brisbane and Sydney is planned for mid-2008. 

SUNA will initially provide real-time traffic coverage across more than 75 per cent of Australia’s urban population and this will increase when the service is launched in Adelaide and Perth, later in 2008.

Although there is no panacea for rush-hour congestion, many of the worst delays motorists experience can be attributed to road works and unpredictable causes including accidents and signal failures.  With SUNA, motorists are informed in real-time to avoid such delays. 

“With the new SUNA Traffic Channel, drivers can now understand, anticipate and respond to changes in the traffic flow and road conditions surrounding them in real-time,” said Adam Game,

Chief Executive of Intelematics Australia.  “SUNA Traffic Channel is Australia’s first digital traffic information broadcast and will operate 24 hours per day, all year round.”

“The enormous popularity of similar services in Europe, Japan and North America suggests that motorists’ value being informed in real-time about road conditions.  Even the ability to estimate an accurate arrival time can be an enormous relief to motorists.”

“SUNA is proudly an Australian innovation and based on technology used by millions of drivers worldwide, ensuring its compatibility with many of the navigation systems, already in use in Australia.  With SUNA, drivers and passengers will have a safer and more enjoyable motoring experience through greater understanding and control over their surrounding road conditions,” Game said.

Unique to SUNA is its ability to identify traffic congestion levels using data derived from traffic light control systems.  SUNA Traffic Channel is the first TMC service in the world to apply technology which takes advantage of the data collected by tens of thousands of vehicle sensors driving modern traffic light control systems. 

Through SUNA’s sophisticated traffic prediction models and with cooperation by Australia’s various State road authorities, this world-first approach has enabled the service to drill down to an extraordinary level of real-time detail.

SUNA will supplement the sensor-based data with information from probe vehicles deployed in known congested areas as well as live observation of road conditions by trained experts.  The combined information is then broadcast in an encoded digital format via the FM frequency directly to compatible navigation devices. 

SUNA is now being broadcast over 101.1FM in Melbourne and preliminary broadcasts have begun across 97.3FM in Brisbane and on 106.5FM in Sydney.  Additionally, an online, XML-based feed of the SUNA Traffic Channel will be made available to developers and providers of internet-based traffic portals,, smart phones and the logistics sector. 

 

Traffic congestion is a major community issue.

The Bureau of Transport Economics (BTE) estimates* that traffic delays in Melbourne cost the community around $2.7 billion per year in additional travel time and resource wastage.  In Sydney, an NRMA Survey** in April 2007 found that 12 per cent of small businesses in NSW have seen their annual operating costs increase by as much as $20,000, through increased fuel consumption and operating costs as well as decreased staff punctuality and slowed-down productivity.

Availability

SUNA will be available to consumers as a service bundle through the leading portable navigation device brands as sold through major consumer electronics retailers.  Intelematics is currently testing compatibility with a number of these brands, in anticipation of the service being available through retailers later in 2007.

Additionally, it is anticipated that vehicle manufacturers and importers will bundle the service with new navigation-equipped vehicles, with, consumer availability planned for 2008.  For more information, please visit http://www.sunatraffic.com.au.