BMW is set to become the first vehicle manufacturer offering real-time traffic information (RTTI) integrated into their professional navigation system. The feature will be available for free on all new BMWs fitted with the company's ConnectedDrive system and Bluetooth telephone preparation with telematics.

BMW's new real-time traffic information system works by combining TPEG (Transport Protocol Expert Group) with a GSM cellular network. Using a SIM card built into the vehicle, traffic information can be transmitted and displayed on a navigation map in real-time using an easily interpreted colour-coding system.

BMW used color-coding to indicate how well the traffic is flowing, giving users advance warnings of any accidents, congestion or other disruptions. Road networks can be divided into distances as short as 0.3 of a mile and data is automatically updated every 3 minutes, allowing the driver to monitor whether the traffic situation is improving or getting worse. With destination guidance activated the system also monitors traffic flow for alternative routes on your journey.

The technology is reportedly capable of recommending for or against alternative routes whilst simultaneously monitoring the original route to see if conditions have changed. The idea is to let drivers know if choosing a different route will actually offer any time savings over continuing through heavier traffic on the original route.

As an added bonus, BMW owners will also be able to plan routes online from almost any internet enabled device with the same real-time traffic information. Real-time traffic information is available as an option on all new European BMWs now, with American BMW models expected to get the same option in the future.

The German car maker is also working on a more advanced car-to-x communication system that alows vehicles to exchange information with each other or with roadside infrastructure such as traffic lights. It will work over long-range wireless networks and mobile phone connections to provide users with more detailed real-time information not only for proactive safety and accident prevention but also for greater driving efficiency.