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June 2, 2006

Traffic prediction gets road rage

Posted by Tricia Duryee at 1:49 PM

Less than two weeks ago, Kirkland-based Inrix announced that it had a new system that provides live traffic information on freeways, arterials and even side streets in most major U.S. cities.

The software also predicts traffic conditions minutes, days, or even a year into the future.

In addition, Inrix announced it had raised $10 million in venture capital. With the financing -- its second round -- the company plans to increase its geographical coverage area, including international markets such as Canada, Western Europe and Australia.

This week, I got an e-mail from LandSonar, which claimed to be "the first supplier of US predictive traffic products." The San Francisco company said it will be announcing some big things in the weeks and months ahead.

I quickly e-mailed Bryan Mistele, CEO of Inrix, to see if LandSonar was licensing its technology.

No way, he said. LandSonar, Mistele said, is the equivalent of "The Farmer's Almanac"; it uses historical data to predict traffic, whereas Inrix is like the Double-Doppler Radar, which takes a lot of data into account -- accidents, construction and school schedules -- to figure out how traffic will be impacted.

LandSonar's Web site says: "Our predictive traffic information system is built on an aggregation of historical traffic data as well as on data regarding recurring and upcoming events that may affect traffic congestion and road speed."

"Obviously, the approaches are very different and lead to very different results," Mistele said in an e-mail.

I thought the two might be connected because LandSonar lists TeleAtlas -- which gets data from Inrix -- as a partner.

Mistele said LandSonar is not using Inrix's data.


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Tricia Duryee
Tricia Duryee
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