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Local traffic tracking to be available by fall

April 10, 2008

Indianapolis-area drivers will be able to watch for traffic congestion on screens in their vehicles by this fall as a result of an agreement signed this month by Indianapolis-based Emmis Communications Corp. and seven other groups, including National Public Radio.

Streets color-coded to show traffic speeds will be broadcast by new digital signals to screens that can be attached to windshields and dashboards, and possibly installed as new equipment in vehicles by late next year.

Emmis is the administrative agent for Broadcaster Traffic Consortium LLC, and will broadcast the digital signals from existing towers.

"High definition has the capacity to make this a very rich experience for the navigational user," said Emmis Vice President of Integrated Technology Paul Brenner, who also is administrative agent for the consortium.

Other consortium members include Beasley Broadcast Group Inc., Bonneville International Corp., Cox Radio Inc., Entercom Communications Corp., Greater Media Inc. and Radio One Inc.

The consortium announced the development this week.

The technology also is expected to be used to show weather, gas prices and events, among other information.

Consortium members will broadcast signals received from Chicago-based Navteq Corp. Navteq collects data on traffic movement from roadside sensors and other monitors.

The service will be free to users, but screens must be purchased.

Navteq will work with equipment companies to ensure the signals can be received in cars, and pay a fee to the broadcasters to send the signals.

Broadcasters hope the new service will inspire more interest in digital signals.

The roll out later this year will include at least 55 cities, and be expanded over the following couple of years.

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