It wasn’t so long ago that most of us relied on the humble road map to get us from A to B, but with the advent of GPS navigation systems, our map-reading skills are rarely required. There is no denying the usefulness of GPS systems, particularly if you have a tendency to get lost, but do they actually save you time? According to a recent proprietary research study, if you have a traffic-enabled GPS and spend most of your time on busy roads, you could save yourself up to four days a year.

The research was undertaken by NuStats, and conducted in Dusseldorf and Munich, Germany. Three groups of drivers were evaluated: drivers without a navigation system, drivers with a navigation system, and drivers with a real-time traffic navigation system. The research indicated that drivers with navigation systems that included traffic-enabled navigation devices spent 18% less time on the road during an average trip than those drivers without a navigation system. Also, the research showed that drivers with real-time traffic navigation systems had savings on fuel efficiency, using an average of 21% less fuel (approx 0.87 tons) than a driver without a navigation system.

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The drivers involved took over 2,100 trips, covered more than 12,400 miles (approx. 20,000 kilometers) and spent almost 500 hours on the road. The participants who did not have a GPS system had their vehicles fitted with a logging device that tracked their route and their driving speed.

The study was commissioned by NAVTEQ, a supplier of digital map, traffic and location data for navigation systems, so you should take that into account when considering the benefits. But if you’re a time-poor urban traveler, a traffic-enabled GPS might just save you some valuable minutes (and that extra trip to the gas station).

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