Written by Annika

The different techniques for traffic information

Many navigation systems offer traffic information. This way, you can find out if there's a delay on your route and the device can calculate a new, faster route. This way, you won't be stuck in a traffic jam so you'll arrive at your destination sooner. How your navigation system receives traffic information depends on the technology it uses. After reading this article, you'll know what the 4 different techniques are.

In short

RDS-TMC DAB+ GPRS via built-in sim GPRS via smartphone
Refresh rate 5 - 10 minutes 30 seconds 2 minutes 2 minutes
Wireless/via charging cable Cable Cable Wireless Wireless
Accuracy * ** *** ***
Cost Free Free Free Data costs for smartphone
Roads Highways and provincial roads Highways and provincial roads Highways, provincial roads, and city centers Highways, provincial roads, and city centers

The differences

Navigation with TMC

Radio (RDS-TMC)

RDS (Radio Data System), or the radio, is the most well-known and oldest form for receiving traffic information. Thanks to the integrated FM receiver, navigation systems with this technology receive information via the FM radio signal. The antenna is integrated in an included TMC power cable and has to be connected to the battery of your car. The device collects traffic information on highways and provincial roads every 5 to 10 minutes, free of charge.

Navigation with DAB+

Digital Radio (DAB+)

With DAB+ technology (digital radio), you'll also receive traffic information via the radio on highways and provincial roads, only via DAB+ instead of the FM signal. As a result, the navigation system refreshes the information every 30 seconds and the information is more accurate than if your device uses the RDS technology. The DAB+ technology is mainly found in Garmin navigation systems. Note: you have to connect the device to the battery of your car.

Navigation with smartphone or SIM

GPRS via integrated SIM or smartphone

The most comprehensive technique to receive traffic information is GPRS. This is mobile data, so it uses the 3G/4G network. The navigation system uses the network to receive the traffic information on highways, provincial roads, small roads, and city centers via an integrated SIM card or the Bluetooth on your smartphone. Note: linking your navigation system to your smartphone may cause additional data costs. If you use the system for 1 hour each day, you'll use around 10MB per month.


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