There's nothing worse than sitting in traffic, especially knowing that your vehicle, and all those around you, are contributing to carbon emissions while achieving next to nothing in terms of useful work. The ideal situation of course is to avoid the traffic jams in the first place and most modern satellite navigation systems are helping to do that. But for everyone else with access to a web browser and a moment's spare time before heading out the door to work in the morning, Google is out to help us dodge the traffic congestion too.

Google have just updated their Maps website service to offer up-to-date traffic conditions in more than 30 major U.S. cities to help everyone plan their route and schedule. When traffic information is available, it can be overlaid via a single button in the updated Maps interface to give a fast, colour-coded readout of the current traffic speeds. Red indicates a stop-and-go commute of less than 25 mph, yellow means that cars are moving along at a moderate 25 - 50 mph, and green is what everyone wants - a comfortable cruise at more than 50 mph.

Analysis: Optimising traffic flows is an intricate science with big rewards environmentally and socially every time you can tweak a traffic system to get people home five minutes earlier. Knowing what roads to avoid on a particular day should see everyone win, especially you and your fuel budget.

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[Source: Google blog]


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