GPS could cut journey times by 5pc – save motorists €384 in fuel

10 Mar 2011

If 10pc of Irish drivers deployed sat-nav technology to discover more efficient ways of getting from A to B, it would cut journey times by up to 5pc across Ireland for all vehicles by reducing congestion, TomTom says.

With congestion affecting millions of people every day and having serious effects on drivers’ health, businesses, society and the environment, TomTom has an immediate and cost-effective solution to help tackle traffic congestion.  

“For many drivers, traffic congestion has become inevitable,” says Harold Goddijn, TomTom’s CEO. “We think it’s time to challenge conventional thinking with a working solution to reduce traffic congestion right now on a very large scale.”

Goddijn said TomTom technology, which also incorporates Google search, can reduce journey times for individual drivers by up to 15pc. TomTom drivers are connected online, so when a faster route becomes available, they are first to know.

As a result, journey times can reduce for all drivers by up to 5pc when 10pc of the world’s drivers use TomTom’s HD Traffic navigation system in a portable navigation device, smartphone or via an in-dash solution.

TomTom recently carried out research on Irish motorists to determine how much time and money they were spending on their weekly commute.  

Just more than 73pc of the survey respondents spend at least an hour stuck in traffic every week and those with a longer commute are more likely to spend more time stuck in traffic in an average week. Some 22pc of motorists surveyed said they are late on a weekly basis due to traffic.

The company yesterday outlined a new manifesto aimed at reducing traffic congestion through the increased availability of its HD Traffic technology and bringing together key traffic stakeholders to share ideas.

The need for better informed drivers

Helene Raad, business and development manager in the TomTom traffic division. told that technologies like HD Traffic basically lead to better informed drivers who will know what’s ahead of them and can navigate by different routes.

“The technology can find a traffic jam and tell you what’s going on in the road ahead. In effect, it gives drivers a helicopter view of what’s happening.”

Raad said that by TomTom’s calculations, effective use of sat-nav technology would save a typical driver €384 on fuel costs.

She said TomTom’s RoutePlanner technology, which is free online, allows drivers to calculate journey times and routes before leaving their home or office and if there are any events or holdups on the road they plan to take, it would tell them the ideal time to embark. “Our calculations make it possible to tell drivers not to leave at a certain time in case they could make road congestion worse and instead give them a time and a route that should get them to where they are going at a specific time.

“We believe that if all drivers worked this way as a collective it would reduce congestion enormously,” Raad told

Other points in TomTom’s research included:

  • 67.7pc of respondents said they would take an alternative route if they encountered traffic on their journey. The survey also found that what motorists hate most about being stuck in traffic is not knowing how long it will take them to get to their destination.
  • 34.4pc of Irish motorists said they feel frustrated by the traffic on Irish roads.
  • 40pc of Irish motorists surveyed spend between €21 and €40 on fuel a week. On average, respondents estimate they would save about a quarter of their fuel bill if they could avoid traffic. This averages out at a saving of €384 a year.
  • 45pc of Irish motorists surveyed said they own a sat-nav device and 29.8pc of survey respondents said they would be extremely interested in receiving live traffic updates on their sat-nav device to help them combat traffic congestion on their daily commutes.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years