Google Traffic can be viewed at the Google Maps website, or by using the Google Maps application on a handheld device.
Google Traffic works by analyzing the GPS-determined locations transmitted to Google by a large number of mobile phone users. By calculating the speed of users along a length of road, Google is able to generate a live traffic map.
Google processes the incoming raw data about mobile phone device locations, and then excludes anomalies such as a postal vehicle which makes frequent stops. When a threshold of users in a particular area is noted, the overlay along roads and highways on the Google map changes color.
Google Traffic is available by selecting “Traffic” from a drop-down menu on Google Maps. A colored overlay appears on top of major roads and motorways, with green representing a normal speed of traffic, yellow representing slower traffic conditions, and red indicating the slowest speeds. Grey indicates there is no data available.
Users can use the “search” feature to display traffic in a particular area. For example, a user may type into the search box: “traffic near Edmonton, Alberta”, to see traffic for that city on the map. Another feature uses historical data to show users the “typical traffic” for an area based on the time of day and day of the week. Google Traffic also displays “traffic incidents”, such as construction, accidents, and road closures. In addition, Google Traffic can be viewed while using Google Map’s “directions” feature. (Colombo Gazette)