Google has just added another tool to their Google Maps service which will help you to avoid traffic jams. Now when you go to Google Maps, you’ll notice in the upper left hand corner of the page a “traffic” button. By clicking that, you’ll see up-to-date traffic conditions. Right now this service is offered for 30 different major U.S. cities.
Some of the major cities that they offer conditions for include San Francisco, New York, Chicago, and Dallas. The map is color coded so that you know what to expect. If you see red, it means that it will be a stop-and-go headache (less than 25 MPH). Yellow means that “you could be a little late for dinner,” (25–50 MPH) and green means you’re good to go (more than 50 MPH). The image below is a screenshot that I took of Chicago, and you’ll notice all three of the indicating colors.
This is an expansion from the traffic service they already had available through Google Maps Mobile. Now you can check the traffic conditions before you leave the office, and no mobile device is required. Google wasn’t the first to offer traffic conditions however; Yahoo has already offered it.
I’d be curious to find out where they’re getting their data from, and how often, and accurately it’s updated. It’s definitely a nice feature to have, and hopefully they expand it to other cities in the coming months.