Google has now added traffic data in several cities, allowing users to see what the traffic is like before they leave the house on a journey. Although, there isn’t as much coverage as everyone would like at the moment, the existing ones are already quite widespread and more stretching to other continents are bound to be added soon.
The new Apple iPhone, set to be released this summer is going to have a version of google maps on it and if google could make the whole traffic data work, then they could be on course to something big and special. Being able to check the traffic density on the go using my mobile phone would make my life so much easier. Directions for pedestrians, which have started to feature on a selected few cities in America could also be the future of google maps, a feature which would also be very useful while travelling. Users will also notice that outlines showing the footprints of buildings and subway stops have been added in most major cities.
How the new feature works:
The same usual interface appears on google maps, displaying the whole of the US with major city names labelled. However, there are now traffic lights which appear next to each city which has traffic data enabled.
Clicking on one of these traffic lights allows you to zoom in, and then using colour coding (based on the standard industry coding) you can tell what the traffic is like. Google codes it to three different levels: Green = fast. Yellow = maddening. Red = miserable.
This means that whist writing this article. (i.e. at 10:46 GMT) in London, UK; I can find out that the traffic going north on the 278 is congested and going south is ok. All in a matter of seconds. Obviously I can’t use that information very effectively except for the purposes of demonstration for this article. BUT, if I lived in New York then I would use information on a day to day basis. The simple Google interface means that everything is very easy to view and take in.
I just can’t wait until they cover London!