Traffic congestion information will be integrated with route planning applications to improve estimated time of arrival accuracy within the continental U.S. under a product licensing agreement with LandSonar and Navteq. The traffic information is provided by LandSonar's Predictive Speed (LPS).

LandSonar says that LPS enables Navteq-powered routing applications to project traffic speeds for accurately forecasting ETAs in increments as short as 15 minutes. LPS in Navteq format is now available from LandSonar and will be available from other parties as an integrated Navteq-LPS product “in the coming months,” according to the company.

“Until now, digital maps have limited the expression of the speed to static speed limits,” says Robert Reid, LandSonar executive vp and co-founder. “With LPS, it is now possible for map data to reveal the reality of rush hour in a way that is easy for navigation and routing solutions to use. The plans Navteq has for LPS promise to fundamentally change routing and navigation.”

The deal marks a significant step in Navteq's plans to gain commercial market share by adding functionality that appeals to commercial fleets, according to Veerender Kaul, a transportation analyst for Frost & Sullivan.

And with the trucking industry unable to maintain an adequate supply of drivers, Kaul points out that the Navteq-LPS solution “helps more-efficiently deploy drivers so you get a maximum return on drivers' time. This might be a tool to mitigate to some extent the driver shortage. Also it would provide a better and more-realistic assessment of what it would cost to accept different routes.”

The licensing agreement also marks another chapter in Navteq's rivalry with Tele Atlas, a competing map data company according to Kaul. Navteq and Tele Atlas essentially have “a dualopoly” as digital map providers in North America, he says, with Navteq a dominant player in the consumer segment but lacking the same position in the business segment.

“[Navteq] can position this value-added solution to trucking fleets and they have a huge base in consumer market,” says Kaul. “They're focusing on commercial fleets for now. In the commercial market they don't have a dominant space, but they're still a major player. This enables them to enhance their position in that space.”

Meanwhile, Tele Atlas has partnered with Inrix, another predictive traffic information provider. Contrary to the Navteq-LPS arrangement, Tele Atlas-Inrix solutions are marketed for consumers instead of businesses. or