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TomTom creates world’s largest miniature traffic jam

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Global Position System maker TomTom celebrated two years of HD Traffic in South Africa by creating a symbolic traffic jam of 13 243 toy cars, beating Spain’s previous record of 12 500.

Out of the 13 200 toys cars, 400 of them were made from wire (image: Charlie Fripp)

The toy cars were laid down in the famous Bacela Street, Soweto, (an area synonymous with South African history) within a few meters of the homes of Noble Peace Prize Winner and former South African President, Nelson Mandela, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

The initiative involved various South African charities including StreetWire who made 1716 wire cars for this occasion.

The number 1716 links to the average annual saving in commuter travel time using a TomTom Live Service, which combines the intelligent routing of IQ Routes with real-time traffic feeds.

On 3 June 2010, TomTom South Africa announced the launch of their benchmark traffic service – HD Traffic, and today, two years later TomTom is able to share findings of their anonymous collected GPS historical data for major, main and secondary road networks in South Africa.

The N1 North road section from Buccleuch to Old Johannesburg Road off ramp is arguably the busiest road section. The TomTom traffic team in Amsterdam gathered the following interesting statistics of the GFIP (Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project) deployment on this road section:

* Overall average travel time on this road section has been reduced by 50%. What used to be an average travel time of 23 minutes throughout the day, can now be done in just under 13 minutes due to the GFIP project.

* The 85th percentile evening peak commuter has an impressive average saving of 20 minutes daily for this road section

* Before GFIP, the average driving speed ranged between 10 and 85 kph which has increased to 65 and 110kph after the completion of the initiative

* After the redesign of the Allandale intersection the average speed improved by 70kph during afternoon peak time

* In the past the Buccleuch to New Road offramp trip used to take average 15 min, but has now improved to as little as five minutes during afternoon peak hours

* New Road in Midrand has not substantially benefitted from GFIP as the travel time accross this section remains the same

The historical traffic data can be used by a variety of traffic planners and engineers to identify bottlenecks and prove the effectiveness of road network changes. TomTom uses the same data to provide the user the most optimal route to its destination.

“We are very proud of this important milestone that has been reached today, and this is mainly due to the continuous improvement of our HD Traffic service” says Daan Henderickx, Country Manager of TomTom South Africa. “Worldwide over five billion unique road measurements are recorded on a daily basis, making TomTom the global leader.”

TomTom will be donating the toy cars to charities in Johannesburg, one of which is Santa’s Shoebox, a non-profit organization that collects and distributes Christmas gifts to underprivileged children throughout South Africa.

Staff writer

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