Inrix Traffic’s crowdsourcing keeps you out of gridlock

Aug 30, 2009
Tech

OK, so I’m totally devoted to Google and the Maps app. Maps does everything I want or need in a navigation app, and I’m loathe to consider anything else. When I do, I usually find myself disappointed. Maps sets a high bar, and most navigation apps can’t pass muster. Not so for Inrix Traffic! This traffic […]

OK, so I’m totally devoted to Google and the Maps app. Maps does everything I want or need in a navigation app, and I’m loathe to consider anything else. When I do, I usually find myself disappointed. Maps sets a high bar, and most navigation apps can’t pass muster. Not so for Inrix Traffic! This traffic app just works.

Installing the app puts you in the INRIX Smart Driver Network, which means your iPhone will broadcast your speed, position, and heading to Inrix servers. This crowdsourcing process is anonymous and painless, and once I saw how accurate the Inrix Traffic! information can be, I embraced my role as crowdsourcer.

Inrix Traffic! reports two types of traffic data: speed and incidents. Speed coverage is as simple as it gets. A red overlay denotes “stop & go” conditions, orange means “slowing,” green is “normal,” and a black and white checker pattern means the road is “closed.” Incidents are marked by flags for accidents, construction, and events.

In my tests, incident flags appeared where I expected. I didn’t get a chance to verify any accidents in real time (thank goodness), but I can definitely vouch for construction and events. In fact, the events were especially thorough. I knew I’d see stadium concerts and ball games, but I was surprised when my neighborhood street fair showed up in the map. Awesome.

Because its information is provided by crowdsourcing, I suspect Inrix Traffic! works best in large cities. If you’re out in the hinterlands, you may not be as impressed with this app, but it’s free, so it’s definitely worth a look.

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