The combination of identifying congestion troublespots, and on-the-spot reporting can give company drivers the chance to re-route around problems. Itis claims 75% of congestion is predictable, 65% due to recurring heavy traffic and 10% due to roadworks, which means FVD should be able to ensure drivers avoid the majority of traffic jams.
The company has just secured a three-year deal with coach operator National Express to fit data collection units that will send traffic information messages back to Itis every few seconds. National Express has 530 coaches covering 70 million miles a year, allowing Itis to build up a substantial database of road conditions throughout the UK, which can then be used in its telematics programs.
The use of coaches overcomes one of the obstacles to FVD, the original need for 260,000 cars to make the data statistically valid. Itis claims a coach covering 150,000 miles a year along regular routes is worth 30 times more in terms of the quality of data it transmits than an 'average' driver covering 8,200 random miles. It aims to have a further 9,700 vehicles supplying data signed up by the end of the year.
Itis recently reported a £3.4 million increase in losses year-on-year to £8 million in 2000/2001. However, the firm has £25 million in cash following its flotation on the Alternative Investment Market last October. FVD prices have yet to be announced.