Eureka! Online

Feature Article: Traffic and Travel Information from the point of view of the ADAC, Germany

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What is the ADAC

The Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil Club (ADAC) in Germany is one of the largest automotive clubs in Europe and the second largest in the world with over 18 million members. The ADAC offers its members around the clock assistance, protection and advice and represents the interests of motorists. The organisation is particularly active in the fields of road transport, consumer protection, traffic safety and road safety education.

The motivation behind the ADAC’s support of DAB+ and TPEG
The ADAC has a wealth of mobility information which motorists have only been able to access via the internet or call centres. DAB+ capabilities, especially TPEG allows sharing of this invaluable data to motorists directly via the dashboard, Satnavs and Smartphones. These platforms are an ideal means of sharing data through using a combination of IP and DAB+ applications such as TPEG and Journaline. In addition DAB+ offers an enhanced in-car entertainment environment with improved sound quality and more stations to choose from.

The ADAC recognise DAB+ as the optimum means to relay data and information directly to the driver and sees that there are many opportunities offered via TPEG which are simply not available via FM TMC TI.

The advantages of TPEG over TMC
TMC is widely in use in a number of markets. However there are significant drawbacks when using the application such as:

– Low transmission rate: many messages / slow transmission
– Geo-referencing only via tables: low local resolution, table maintenance
– Not suitable for more than one service provider per country: analog broadcasting (FM/VHF) capacity too low
– Adding new contents and applications is difficult: very efficient code leaves little room for expansion
– Not adapted for use in Satnav systems
– Events cannot be interpreted precisely for route guidance

TPEG characteristics
The technology that the ADAC sees as the future delivery mechanism of TTI however offers many additional benefits such as:

– International standard protocolBased on existing TPEG frame and compatible with TMC
Suitable for any media type, i.e. radio services, mobile services and DSRC
Variable accuracy and depth of description
Unambiguous interpretation of contents
– Scalability and expansionsMessage splitting in different applications
Logically structured code
Adding new contents supported within wide limits
– Efficiency
– Efficient binary encoding
– Compact transfer of important content

What does TPEG offer today?
Today TPEG can be used to broadcast additional information to the consumer. The information that can be relayed directly to the motorist is extensive and includes:

TEC:  Traffic Event Compact (corresponds roughly to current TMC, but is more accurate) and enables local hazard warnings, road-specific weather updates and traffic jam information
– TFP:  Traffic Flow and Prognoses
  PKI:  Parking Information
– SPI:  Driver-assistance System (in progress), e.g. speed information on sign bridges
– WEA:  Weather Information for Travelers (in progress)
– PTI:  Public Transport Information (in progress)
– FPI:  Fuel Price Information
– CAI: Conditional Access Information (auxiliary application)

What does Journaline capabilities offer today?
Journaline® via DAB+ provides hierarchically structured textual information and allows the users to access the topics of interest immediately. Journaline efficiently  stores data and pushes it out via devices as and when required. Journaline also allows for:

 Extensions for convenient linking with other applications
– Metadata for high-quality speech output
 Links to Internet pages
 Geo-referencing for information filtering or for navigation
 Direct activation of phone calls

Future trend forecast
In the next 2-5 years the services that the ADAC would like to relay to its members will technically not be feasible if the current system of TMC is to be used. For the ADAC the solution is DAB+ TPEG and Journaline. These applications will allow for the ADAC to utilise its vast reservoir of data and provide a service that will keep drivers informed to ensure road safety.

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The ADAC currently receives over 20,000,000 positions with speed data every day which it uses to inform drivers in addition to data from over 160,000 fleet management vehicles and over 220,000 apps for iPhone and Android that provide traffic jam data. This data needs to be sifted through and communicated easily and clearly to drivers. DAB+ TPEG and Journaline allows for this to happen. 

Up-to-date travel information
The information that is gathered by the ADAC and that needs to be shared with the driver includes data on:

   – Closing or opening of roads
  –  Natural events (thunderstorms, floods, forest fires, etc.)
   – Events/major events that may affect traffic
   – Traffic and travel-related legal provisions
  –  Further topics such as strikes, disasters, crime, terror, etc.
   – Approx. 600 news items per year (most info available only from ADAC)
  –  Continuous updates
  –  Parking Information and real-time dynamic data on car occupancy (statistics on location, prices, entrance height, number of available spaces)

  • Current road situations (winter road closures, road condition,
    road works, traffic jams, etc.)

Meeting consumer demands
In order for the ADAC to meet consumer demand certain issues on technology and supply needs to be resolved.

– Access to compatible devices:
          Consumer should have access to affordable devices that include PND, smartphones and OEM devices with DAB receivers. This need is being addressed by the automotive industry and device manufacturers in key                 DAB+ digital radio markets. All the major automotive manufacturers now offer DAB+ in their vehicles either as standard or optional and a greater number of affordable aftermarket devices have been coming to market.
– Technical integration of TPEG and Journaline
– All TTI information in one menu

ADAC 2ADAC imagining the future
Imagine the following scenario: A Munich family on the way to their holiday in Brighton, UK

  • Setting off, the family activates its TTI service (let‘s call it ATS, ADAC Travel Service)
    • Route calculation data: 11 hours 35 minutes driving time, 1,195k
  • Just before Frankfurt they see that there is a traffic jam. ATS suggests an alternative route which extends their driving time by 12 minutes. The family accepts the ATS proposal.
  • The family wants to have a break. ATS suggests a wild life park in the Hunsrück and provides information on opening hours, prices and special offers. The family accepts the proposal and the system guides them to the park.
  • ATS provides acoustic information and on en-route points of interest
  • Shortly before Cologne, the car runs out of fuel. ATS automatically notifies the family by recommending the lowest-priced filling station next to the motorway and guiding the them to it.

This is the future as we imagine it with DAB, TPEG and Journaline!

Peter Mikolaschek
Head of Latest Traffic Information
ADAC e.V

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