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Tom Tom Traffic

When I first got my TomTom Go 500, I tried the 1 month free traffic trial and found it to be next to useless, failing to warn of two major traffic jams. I later changed phone to a Sony Ericsson k750i which fails to provide wireless data for the TomTom (it worked OK with my Powerbook and Palm T|X).

Now that I’ve got a new phone which provides wireless data again, I decided to try the traffic function again. Unfortunately, the system remembers that I’d used my free trial, so I had to pay €39.

1st May

The first thing that showed up was ‘lane closed at Blackrod – delay 0 min’. Now there have been roadworks on the A6 at Blackrod since mid-March, but they finished last week. I presume this is still showing because they’ve got some roadworks data which is out of date.

2nd May

Blackrod roadworks still showing.
M61 southbound showed 30 min delay, but on approach reduced to 22 min. There was indeed the usual queue of traffic south of junction 4, but the ETA seemed to overestimate the delay.

3rd May

Blackrod roadworks still showing.
There was a 10 minute queue on the A6 from Blackrod to M61 Junction 6 but no indication on the Tom Tom.
M61 southbound showed clear at first, but once on the motorway a 22 min delay appeared. The fact that this is the same time as yesterday suggests the delay is calculated and not based on reality. As it happened, there was no delay at all, so the warning was false.
Blackrod roadworks disappeared by the evening.

So far that’s four false reports, one failure to report an actual delay, and one valid report of a delay. Not a good start.

4th May

No idea about traffic this morning, because the TomTom could not contact the server. The wireless data connection on the phone was OK, so I can only assume that the TomTom’s servers are down.
This evening, the server was back up.

9th May

I think I’ve found a bug in the software. This morning it was warning about a 41 min delay (on the right hand side of the screen), but the ETA was 38 minutes. Maybe my car’s turned into the tardis. On the detail screen, however, it showed the normal 22 min delay.

10th May

A trip down to Coventry, so a chance to test it on the M6. It was warning about a contraflow with 0 min delay. About four miles before that, we did hit a contraflow which it did not warn about, causing about 5 minutes delay. When we got to the location of the supposed contraflow, it wasn’t there. Basically, TomTom had the location wrong.

14th May

No problems reported this morning, but I hit a ten minute delay on the slip road from the M61 to A666 at Kearsley.

15th May

The bug reappeared this morning. The side display showed 30 min delay, but the details screen said 22 min. I think the problem here is that I exit the motorway part way through the delay, but the TomTom includes the motorway past the exit on the front screen, but the proportional delay on the details screen. As it happened, as soon as I got on the motorway, the warning vanished, but there was still the usual queue from J4 to J3.
Once again, there was a delay on the Kearsley slip road, but no warning. I did however notice, once I was in the queue, a congestion icon on the road, but the side display showed no such delay. You then have to zoom in on a traffic map to see that the icon simply says ‘congestion’ but no delay.

16th May

When setting off this morning, the TomTom showed (surprise, surprise) a 22 minute delay between J4 and J3, but this disappeared before I got to the motorway. It then failed to warn about the 5 minute delay getting onto the motorway. Not surprisingly the queue was there between J4/3 but TomTom only re-instated the warning once I was in the queue. Very poor.

22nd May

22 min delay (41 min on front screen) reported again, but no queue until after the junction where I come off.

4th June

TomTom’s servers down again. What’s annoying is the TomTom blames the phone “Please check your phone’s wireless data settings”. There’s nothing wrong with the wireless data connection. It would make sense for the TomTom to try connecting to some other server to prove the internet connection. It could then truthfully say that the TomTom server is the one at fault. Note: the server was back up in the evening.

5th June

Absolute bollocks this morning – TomTom warning of 38 minute delay due to congestion between J5 and J3. There was no delay whatsoever.

7th June

Servers down again. pathetic.

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