Running a French Holiday Gite in Rural Brittany

Thursday, October 30, 2008

UK Traffic Conditions now on Google Maps

I noticed the other day that Google Maps have now started showing traffic details for most of the UK motorway network - simply click on the "Traffic" button on the top right above the map and you're shown live traffic details with normal traffic flow showing up in Green then changing to Yellow, Red and finally Black as the conditions worsen.

But there's more !

Clicking on the 'change' link next to the traffic speed legend and you're able to see historic average journey speeds for any day of the week or time period. With this you can easily see when the car parking opens on the M25 or the M6 snarls up past Birmingham, and it seems to be fairly accurate, my daily commute to Stockley Park is shown as getting difficult from about 6:30am, and is stop-start all the way round from 7:15am. Yep, I've been there a few times!

So far almost all of the UK Motorway (and Motorway grade A roads) are included and long stretches of a number of main A roads are covered as well (e.g. A1, A421, A43, A14), but there are still a few inexplicable gaps (e.g. there is a 1 mile gap on the M25 next to Abbots Langley).

Whilst I'm on the subject of traffic news I should mention Keep Moving which (once you've enrolled for free) you can setup your regular journeys (home to work, work to home, home to in-laws, etc) and then at a glance see what the journey time is likely to be and if there are any holdups on your route. You can get free texts sent to your phone or daily summary reports sent by email - I receive a morning text at 7am before I get stuck on the M25 and an email at 5pm before I attempt the journey home.

Keep Moving has a number of other features but they're not all that well integrated together on the website. There's CCTV images from the Highways Agency so you can check for yourself where the holdups are, eye witness traffic reports from other motorists, cheap fuel locations along your route and cheap food (from supermarkets) instead of being ripped off at a service station.

Some of these features can be a bit frustrating to use as once you've looked at the doom and gloom of the traffic holdups on your journey home you then have to separately search by road name if you want to look at the live CCTV images - so much better if they were available on the same map, but the data seems to be good and hopefully these usability things will improve with time.

Final mention goes to Route Scanner which mashes up Google Maps with live traffic information from the BBC Travel and Highways Agency. The Route Scanner search engine seems to be quite temperamental, it took several attempts for me to get details for my typical commute; I only got through when I entered details of nearby large towns on my route - post-code entry and both my home village were not accepted.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home