Altech Netstar: The Leading Provider of Traffic Information

Altech Netstar – the leading stolen vehicle tracking and recovery, and fleet management company in Southern Africa – recently announced the launch of a new business.  Called Altech Netstar Traffic, it will be the first to bring intelligent, real-time traffic flow information and journey times to the motoring public of South Africa.


Traffic congestion in major cities around the world has reached alarming proportions, and authorities are examining and experimenting with all sorts of methods of reducing congestion.  Fundamental to addressing the problem is the accurate measurement of traffic flows.  Technologies such as magnetic loops, cameras, infrared sensors, and counters are deployed at considerable cost to assist with providing information.  Whilst these methods all have a role to play, they are unable to provide accurate information about the journey time between two different points.  This shortcoming can be addressed by using data from vehicles traveling along the routes of interest – typically the freeways and major secondary roads.


Vehicle probe data technology is a relatively new addition to the traffic information industry.  It relies on using data from vehicles to provide information on traffic speed and congestion.  Altech Netstar has teamed up with the world leader in probe data technology – ITIS Holdings Plc – to launch a traffic information business in South Africa. ITIS has successful operations in countries such as Israel, the UK, Ireland, and Belgium, and is considered to be the global expert in intelligent traffic flow data using vehicle probe data.


There are two methods of collecting vehicle probe data.  The first is through onboard GPS tracking systems.  Altech Netstar has a substantial subscriber base of vehicles installed with such systems.  The second method is to obtain mobile phone hand-over data from a mobile network operator, and Altech Netstar Traffic will be obtaining anonymous date from one of the leading mobile operators.  The data received is totally anonymous, and cannot be traced to any particular vehicle or mobile phone.  This is then processed through a complex set of proprietary algorithms, overlaid on digital street maps, and then used to accurately predict traffic speed and congestion.  A combination of the two different sources of data not only enhances its integrity, but also provides for redundancy.


ITIS’s global operations show a huge and growing demand for this information from various market segments, such as vehicle manufacturers (who require the data for their onboard satellite navigation systems); radio stations (that wish to provide accurate traffic reports to their listeners); motorists (who can telephone into an integrated voice response service to obtain up-to-the-minute information); transport companies (who need the data to assist with their trip scheduling and vehicle routing); portable navigation device manufacturers and distributors (who want traffic information routed directly to their hand-held devices); and government road planning and traffic departments who have a variety of traffic information requirements.


The pilot project has commenced, with completion due by the end of 2008.  By early 2009, Altech Netstar Traffic expects to be able to bring real-time traffic flow data into the South African market.  Initial roll-out will cover those areas most affected by traffic congestion, being Gauteng, Durban and Cape Town.  Further updates will be posted on this website from time to time.


Information can be obtained by contacting Harry Louw at harryl@netstar.co.za