General Question

Charles's avatar

Are there GPS navigators (car) with street as well as highway traffic?

Asked by Charles (4823points) March 18th, 2012

Looking to buy another GPS navigator for my car. An external unit that mounts on the windshield or dash. I have had two Garmin units which use Navteq which is OK but it only has freeway (highway) traffic. Are there any that have BOTH streets and highways traffic data, something like google maps traffic (which uses crowdsourcing data from cell phone users whose phones are equipped with GPS)?
If not, I will probably buy the most basic GPS navigator with lifetime free traffic, regardless of the traffic data source – may just get another Garmin, perhaps a refurbished one.
Is Navteq basically the only GPS Navigator traffic source? Others? Differences?

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15 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I’ve got a Garmin that does all the streets. I can see what it uses if you’d like.

Charles's avatar

Please do. It may be something called NuLink. Is there an annual subscription? Does it take into effect street traffic when providing navigation? The reason I ask is because my current NavTeq traffic on my Garmins assume the streets are moving at posted speed limit. However an alternate street route is often just as jammed as the freeway. So, my current Garmin will direct me off the freeway onto an equally jammed (arterial) street. I think some of the newer or more delux traffic services may include crowdsourcing as well as historical data from that GPS company’s users and that might factor street traffic as well as the freeway traffic into the recommended route.
There is something called IQ Routes and something called Manifesto which may be the trade names for TomTom. NuLink I think is this for Garmin. Not sure…still researching.

tom_g's avatar

Android phone

SpatzieLover's avatar

We do what @tom_g does. Our car GPS doesn’t show traffic times/congestion so on road trips where we know we’ll hit traffic we will want to avoid, we either use my BB or my husband’s iPhone for this purpose.

Charles's avatar

Right, but I am specifically asking for a GPS navigation unit, not an Android phone with it’s dinky display and required data plan.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@Charles The data plan is what feeds the traffic info to the GPS.

jerv's avatar

When I used a separate GPS, I strongly preferred the Magellan Roadmate over the slow-to-change-routes, difficult to register a press on the touchscreen Garmins or TomToms. And the newer Roadmates have free traffic as well, though I cannot speak for whether it does side-streets.

Also, as for “dinky display”, I find 4.3” to be adequate, especially since I prefer to block as little of my forward view as possible. If I wanted a tablet-sized view obstruction on my dash, I would just go all the way and black out my windshield. Personal preference. Besides, I already have the data plan since I have a smartphone that I use for other non-GPS things, so why not use it for navigation as well?

Charles's avatar

OK, so does anyone know of any GPS navigators (not cell phones) that have street traffic?

Charles's avatar

“The only way to get data on surface streets is through smartphones, and that means using Google Maps (and it’s traffic data). I don’t know of any standalone units that have access to their data, so you’re either going to get outdated info on a standalone unit, pony up the cash for a smartphone, or live without.”

came from

Charles's avatar

Reading through the comments I came across this:

“The only GPS units that show accurate traffic information on secondary and tertiary roads are the TomTom Live units.”

jerv's avatar

Well, there really is no substitute for area knowledge. There are certain places where I expect things that others may consider “unexpected”. I also know the most common detours around them will likely be congested (possibly moreso than the route that is being detoured from). There is a reason why, when an accident causes a backup on I-5S and the GPS tries to get me to exit-hop at 196th, I often know long before I see it that it will be quicker to just stay on I-5 ;)

Also note that area knowledge will tell you what roads are stupid when anyways. I-5N in the afternoon or I-5S in the morning is somewhere between masochism and futility.

Try programming that into a GPS/smartphone!

Charles's avatar

I’,m finding this to be very complicated. The TomTom Go Live seems to have the street traffic feature – but only for a year (I think) then it’s $60/year.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Sounds right as a price. You have to update the maps annually $$$ cost.

jerv's avatar

That is how many electronics work. My smartphone was only $200 instead of $560 because of the contract that came with it; an additional $720 over two years for the required data plan. But when you break it down, that’s only $12/month (I get a 20% discount as part of my benefit package) since half the cost of the plan is repaying the $360 discount on the phone.

GPS units don’t use nearly as much bandwidth, but they still use enough to make the service contract business model viable.

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