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AP: Virginia company to deliver personalized traffic reports


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Virginia company to deliver personalized traffic reports

Associated Press

Potomac News

Wednesday, June 9, 2004

BALTIMORE - A Virginia company is launching a service that will deliver personalized traffic reports to some of the region's estimated 32 million drivers.

SpeedAlerts will send e-mails or text messages to commuters warning them when their commuting routes are congested.

The service, which costs around $5 per month, was launched earlier this month in Maryland.

"You can listen to the traffic reports _ and we recommend you keep listening to the traffic reports _ but 1/8with SpeedAlerts 3/8 you don't have to wait 10 minutes for the next report and hope that they just happen to talk about the road you want," said Craig Franklin, president of Trichord Inc., the Leesburg, Va., company that created SpeedAlerts.

The subscription service, accessed by the Web site SpeedAlerts.com, allows commuters to pick their routes and establish what Franklin called their "pain threshold." That is, the point in miles per hour at which they want to know about mounting congestion.

When traffic slows to that point, subscribers receive an alert message via e-mail, cell phone or both. Trichord collects the data from about 30 traffic sensors it scattered along highways in Virginia.

The acoustic sensors use sound to calculate traffic speed on a per-lane basis. The company augments the data with information from more than 200 additional publicly owned sensors on highways in Virginia and Maryland to compile its traffic reports.

In exchange for the right to put its sensors on highways and use public monitors, the company shares the data it collects with the Virginia Department of Transportation, which uses the information for traffic management.

The service currently covers Interstates 95, 495 and 270 in Maryland. Expanding coverage in the state is contingent upon the company finalizing an agreement to deploy sensors, similar to the one it inked in Virginia, with the Maryland Department of Transportation, Franklin said. Future plans for coverage in Maryland include Interstates 97, 695, 70 and 83 and U.S. Route 50.

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Interesting, but I use the online (free) traffic videocameras to judge my commute (from Falls Church to Gaithersurg and vice versa) and which way to take, I don't see what more this (pay) service offers that will help me more. It may be good for some people, especially where there is not good video coverage.

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