I’ve been jealous of my coworkers in Redmond for a while because the Seattle-area has a very cool system for monitoring traffic status. It now seems that the bay area may finally be catching up.
Traffic.com now appears to have real-time traffic reporting for the south bay (read: Silicon Valley). I honestly don’t know when they started reporting in real time as last time I looked for real-time traffic in the south bay was a year or so ago. Traffic.com offers traffic for a number of metro areas like New York, LA and San Francisco. If your city is not explicitly listed, don’t despair, look for the closest metro area. For example, San Jose is grouped in with San Francisco.
Where’s the beef? Traffic.com gets some of its funding from ads but it is also a marketing tool for Mobility Technologies to help drive adoption of its telematics technologies (you can sign up for news from them on their products when you register for your free access). Mobility’s travel data program gets federal funding (at $2M for specific metro areas) but they do end up sharing their profits with the government. Mobility focuses on 3 markets: reselling data to broadcasters, selling real-time equipment to large agencies and finally telematics equipment to consumers.
Mobility‘s Traffic Pulse Networks® are automated systems for radio and tv broadcasters. The material on their site reads like the brochures you might find on the desk of a tv or radio sales manager. In short, buy our service and you’ll make money hand-over-fist.
The solutions Mobility sells to businesses and government (and potentially consumers with deep pockets) are focused on delivering the same type of information you get from the web page but in a customizable form. I could see UPS buying into this type of service to get a leg up on FedEx.
The really cool bit for me is Mobility‘s telematics. This is where we should have been ages ago, having real time traffic in our cars that link into the GPS navigation to intelligently route us around bad spots. It’s not explicitly stated on their site but the 2005 Acura RL has technology from Mobility which links GPS with XM-transmitted traffic data. Dare I say it? That’s so boss. Now, if I could only get the service in something a little more sporty.