App update will fight ‘shockwave’ jams


‘Phantom’ or ‘shockwave’ traffic jams are a growing problem on congested highways. They are caused when one driver brakes too sharply, which leads to a ‘shockwave’ effect on traffic behind and can eventually cause a complete, albeit temporary, jam. Now TomTom are adding a real-time jam checker to their Speed Cameras app, in an attempt to fight this phenomenon.

TomTom’s ‘Jam Ahead Warnings’ feature is now available on the company’s free Speed Cameras app for Android devices. The Jam Ahead Warnings system visually and audibly alerts drivers to rapidly slowing, or stationary, traffic on the highway ahead, giving the driver plenty of time to brake smoothly. The Speed Cameras smartphone application is available in 16 countries, and is planned to launch in a further 26.

Drivers around the world rely on the app to deliver highly accurate fixed and mobile camera alerts in real time, as well as sections of highway where average speed cameras are in operation. The app also advises drivers of their current speed and the posted limit for the road they are driving on. The locations of fixed cameras are provided by TomTom’s highly accurate database, and verified by the company’s moderation team, while mobile speed cameras are reported and verified by a community of over 5 million drivers worldwide.

TomTom has also released an innovative new feature on its free MyDrive app, which has solved the ‘commuter dilemma’ of knowing when to leave home in order to get to work on time. The Traffic Checker service has been created to provide personalized notifications on drivers’ smartphones, so that they can understand if, and why, there is traffic congestion on their commute. The notifications also allow the driver to tap through to the MyDrive app to see the fastest available route to their destination. Routes can be transferred to a TomTom navigation device by clicking a button in the app. On the Apple OS version of MyDrive, drivers can view a personalized widget to check delays on their commute, while on the Android version, drivers see a personalized notification.

Corinne Vigreux, co-founder and managing director of TomTom, said, “We’re constantly striving to make the driving experience safer and more relaxed. Our Tom Jam Ahead Warnings is a powerful example of this approach. Commuters don’t have it easy; the daily grind of getting to and from work can be incredibly frustrating. We’re obsessed with making driving a more relaxed experience. Based on feedback from our customers, we developed Traffic Checker for our MyDrive app. Now drivers will better understand when they need to leave the house, or the office, to get to their destination on time. We’ve finally solved the headache of the commuter dilemma.”

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About Author


Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).