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2019 RTL-E (white on beige) in central Texas
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Tried turning off your phone for a test (admitting I've not)?

Methinks it's not phone-dependent, my old-and-trusty stand-alone Garmin Nuvi2595 with "Lifetime Traffic" has no connection to my phone or any other external device / antenna whatsoever, somehow giving traffic updates in covered areas nonetheless.

EDIT - my reply goes to how the in-car NAV receives the traffic updates it displays; I may have misunderstood the OP's question. :unsure:
 

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The nav uses a traffic service....
But to throw a curve ball in there, the way the traffic service knows there is traffic - your phone!!
Yes they use traffic cams and other ways, but Google is tracking you, and they know how many cells are on any stretch of road.
So the real answer is yes, by your phone, but not the way you think.
 

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2019 RTL-T Forest Mist Metallic
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Discussion Starter #6
The nav uses a traffic service....
But to throw a curve ball in there, the way the traffic service knows there is traffic - your phone!!
Yes they use traffic cams and other ways, but Google is tracking you, and they know how many cells are on any stretch of road.
So the real answer is yes, by your phone, but not the way you think.
I know Google is tracking you but how does Garmin get that info?
 

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2019 RTL-E (white on beige) in central Texas
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I know Google is tracking you but how does Garmin get that info?
To that question, clipped from this Garmin webpage ....

".....
Where does the traffic data come from?
Traffic alerts come from a traffic data collection system that analyzes traffic flow data collected from more than 2 billion observation points every month:
  • data from millions of Garmin device owners
  • data from millions of cellular phone owners
  • incident reports
  • radio feeds of live information
  • news stations
  • historical traffic data from HERE Traffic Supply
  • historical traffic data from Garmin device owners
  • fixed traffic sensors on major roads giving extremely accurate traffic reports
Traffic data collected from more observation points, more often, helps your navigator find efficient driving routes for you.
....."

Whether or not Google/Alphabet per-se is a source of info for this application, Garmin obviously pays for a lot of data and data analysis from a range of sources to provide real-time traffic updates. Just as obviously there are many entities (both "public" and "private") other than Garmin engaged in the commerce of such data in service to their customers. It's a huge albeit highly specialized industry in itself.

Clearly, an incredible amount of info can be gleaned about traffic-flow simply by tracking GPS and cellphone movement alone (that data necessarily exists just so those devices can deliver the services all customers demand). It's easy to imagine such data can be observed and used on a totally 'non-personalized' basis with purely altruistic benefit (or not, if one is inclined to the contrary view).

To me, the truly impressive part of all of this is not the existence or collection of the data ... it's the existence of the computing power, data sharing networks, and analytical tools that must be employed to provide the result in a form meaningful and useful to end-users on an essentially real-time basis.

We live in amazing times.
 

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I believe (correct me if I’m wrong) that much of traffic raw data is “crowd sourced” from virtually all our cell phones as our locations are tracked realtime as we drive along roads (thus yielding traffic info).

So for example for Apple IOS 13 iPhones, you can see this buried deep within Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services > Product Improvement > Routing and Traffic. I found this by checking every setting on my phone (it was on by default). Presumably this data is “anonymized & aggregated” and given or sold to navi and traffic services providers. I shut it off on my phone (along with several other potential privacy issues), as who knows these days about privacy breaches....

One of you with an Android phone should check out how it appears there (assuming Google even discloses this....)

 

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Tried turning off your phone for a test (admitting I've not)?

Methinks it's not phone-dependent, my old-and-trusty stand-alone Garmin Nuvi2595 with "Lifetime Traffic" has no connection to my phone or any other external device / antenna whatsoever, somehow giving traffic updates in covered areas nonetheless.

The crowdsourcing of raw traffic data (including from our phones) is independent of and unrelated to consuming traffic data. So for example on my iPhone, I turned crowdsourcing contribution off months ago (per my post above), but obviously I still see traffic data - whether on my Ridgeline RTL-E’s OEM navigation, or on my iPhone’s Apple Maps or Google maps (or those same maps on my PC), etc.

PS - @CentexG2 ‘s post #7 is great write up of all the sources of traffic data. I suspect that cell phones probably one of the biggest sources.
 
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