Recently, I drove with a colleague to New Hampshire to attend and present at a conference. For the whole trip we were using her Garmin Nüvi GPS. On our way back, at some point, the lady voice of the GPS mentioned something about heavy traffic ahead and started re-routing. She made us leave the freeway and drive about 10 miles on local streets and small roads along the freeway and, finally,merge back into the freeway – actually, it was a toll-road… after having lived 2 years in Los Angeles, I keep referring to all the roads as freeways -.

I was curious to know how did that work, so I wrote a note to myself to look for it. I kept forgetting for one week, but I finally remembered to check it at Garmin’s website. Apparently, most of of their products include a feature called Navteq Traffic here in the US that, in specific urban areas – one can check the coverage map here -, receives real time traffic updates. In our case, we were driving through the Hartford CT area.

I tried to find specific specs of the system to see how does it exactly work, but the only thing I know so far is that the information is transmitted on FM. Garmin’s website doesn’t give much more details at all. I’ll keep looking…