Custom Traffic, the former technology vendor of Shell Mobile, plans to re-enter the local market after the failure of the oil company's mobile virtual network business. The Australia-based traffic information aggregator is actively seeking partners to help launch its customised service for motorists in Hong Kong and the mainland. Custom Traffic provides real-time traffic information and journey time forecasts based on its database of travel-time profiles that covers every road in Hong Kong; profiles provided by subscribers detailing where and what time they leave home every morning and their routes to work; as well as dynamic real-time updates based on traffic reports. 'Our technologies integrate data from a number of sources - such as the Transport Department or private sources like GPS [global positioning service] or location-based services,' Custom Traffic director and co-founder Charles Karl said. 'It can also be from proprietary sources in Hong Kong, like the computer systems that control the traffic light signals. 'The underlying model can take the information [and convert it] into content and provide customers with information such as alternative routes or how long it takes for you to go from point A to B.' Mr Karl said Custom Traffic works closely with regional government departments to gain access to the data, which is downloaded on to their systems. The company recently completed a trial in Melbourne, with Webraska Mobile Technologies, delivering traffic information to drivers via short message services (SMS) over their mobile phones. Mr Karl said the firm's forecasts had an absolute error of two to three minutes on average, even during peak hours, which are the most unpredictable hours of the day. 'These results are seen as a world first,' the company said. 'We are not aware of any similar results achieved elsewhere.' Custom Traffic Hong Kong director Barry Tang said the firm's services were in strong demand as they provided more valuable and sophisticated content than radio stations. 'The radio only targets a wide audience with little customisation. We are targeting customers on an individual level. The radio can only tell you where the queue lane is, but it cannot tell you how long a journey takes,' Mr Tang said. Mr Karl added: 'Motorists are not interested in that information; he or she is only interested in the routes he or she is travelling. If we have the profile of the motorist, we can customise the content that we have for that particular motorist. 'Obviously in future, we are able to track our subscribers with their phones supported by GPS.' The company used to provide customised information for motorists in Hong Kong via SMS under a pilot project provided by Shell Mobile, a 50-50 joint-venture between Shell Hong Kong and Sunday Telecommunications. However, after just six months, the service was closed because of a lower-than-expected adoption rate. The shutdown of the mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) did not put off Custom Traffic as it believed telecommunication operators were only one group of potential customers. 'SMS is only one of the ways to deliver it,' Mr Karl said. He said customers could also access the information via e-mail, interactive response systems or call centres. Custom Traffic said other potential customers included radio stations, toll operators, map developers and advertisers. 'We believe we can bundle our quality service with advertisements which will drive our revenue,' Mr Karl said. The firm has been awarded a patent in Australia for its method of combining historical and real-time data to provide traffic forecasts. Mr Karl said there were patents pending in Hong Kong, China and Singapore - the firm's targeted markets. Mr Tang said the company had held discussions with local partners on the mainland. 'We believe that our potential in China is enormous because motorists are in need of this content,' Mr Tang said.