Google Navigation – Real-Time, Crowd-Sourced Traffic

Google Maps–both mobile and web versions– include real-time, crowd-sourced traffic information. This is something that others have been trying to do for years, if not for decades. Google is quietly making it happen now, leveraging the rapid uptake in Google Maps for Mobile (notably, but not exclusively, on the Android platform), plus the always-on nature of the mobile phone.

In my day-to-day life, I have not gotten all that much benefit from this feature. I have checked it out, but I live in a second-tier traffic city, Minneapolis-St. Paul, where rush hour is more or less just that, a mere hour or two. So mostly I can check the MN-DOT website and quickly see the arterial congestion. There aren’t a lot of alternate routes to consider.

But today, I was driving with my wife and family, from visiting my parents in northern VA, to the BWI airport in Baltimore.  Unexpectedly, I ran into traffic, even though it was Sunday afternoon. Heavy traffic. So heavy that we started getting nervous about the time, even though we had left ourselves a 1+ hour cushion.

So I took a look at Google Traffic. Bad news–there was an even bigger stretch of slow traffic farther ahead on I-295. So while Beth drove, I plotted an alternate route, skirting 295 until traffic broke up. It was a little nerve-wracking, and not the easiest thing, using a handheld-size screen, but it paid off. We arrived still in good time.

So for those of you “lucky” enough to live in tier 1 traffic cities 😉 , I think Google Traffic could prove useful on a more day-to-day basis.

Posted in Droid. 3 Comments »

3 Responses to “Google Navigation – Real-Time, Crowd-Sourced Traffic”

  1. Robert Says:

    You should call this site Drupalie instead of Droidie.

  2. Damon Hellerman Says:

    Even as I love a physical keyboard, after dealing with the Samsung Captivate for roughly quarter-hour, it’s arduous to go back. Presently I’m debating whether or not to visit Verizon for the Droid X, move to Sprint for the EVO, or stay with AT&T for the Captivate…choices, decisions.

    • Erik Neu Says:

      I used my son’s upgrade to get a T-Mobile Vibrant (T-Mobile equivalent of Captivate, both minor variants of the Galaxy S). It is pretty nice. The 4″ screen is very big. It almost feels too big for moving my thumbs across–I would not have thought that possible. BUT–I am afflicted with the GPS problem. I am going to have to return it–I MAY try my luck on a replacement, but the problem seems to be somewhat endemic (fix supposedly forthcoming in September).

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