Nokia may have succeeded where major car and telematics companies have failed, using the combination of GPS satellite navigation and mobile phone technology to accurately report information about traffic flow patterns in real time and calculate alternative routes.

Tracking traffic flow with mobile phones

The system works by relaying the speed and location of a phone within a vehicle to a traffic control centre which creates a picture of traffic conditions using the data from many phones.

Current systems incorporating complex and expensive infrastructure of roadside and pavement-mounted sensors and cameras are far more expensive and less accurate than the mobile system.

Additionally, by tracking the data from a phone as opposed to the car itself, the stigma associated with the "virtual speed camera" is avoided.

The system, dubbed Mobile Century, is still in the concept phase, however initial tests have proven to be very promising.