Google just launched a new and exciting feature for GoogleMaps: traffic conditions on highways and arterial roads. The simple and very usable display works well in conjunction with Google’s way of gathering the data: crowd sourcing.
The interface is clutter-free and really easy to understand:
As you zoom in closer to an area of interest, we’ll color the arterial roads, in addition to the highways, to show current traffic conditions. Just as with the highways, the colors correspond to the speed of traffic (relative to the speed limit of the road): green is free sailing, yellow is medium congestion, red is heavy congestion, and red/black is stop-and-go traffic.
What more do we need to read the conditions of a road? Well done, Google.
Here’s how you can help making the the crowd sourcing work:
Using Google Maps for mobile with GPS enabled on your phone is required. When you choose to enable Google Maps with My Location, your phone sends anonymous bits of data back to Google describing how fast you’re moving. When we combine your speed with the speed of other phones on the road, across thousands of phones moving around a city at any given time, we can get a pretty good picture of live traffic conditions.