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As the links below demonstrate (thanks!),
places in the US and UK track traffic speed
and post it as maps. (I mean the actual speed
of traffic, not the speed limit.)
It would be nice if this information, averaged
over time, would become part of printed
Once enough vehicles have electronic
that is aware of the
car's motion, this will be easy to extend to
non-highways; the GPS map display in a car
would get colorized with real-time speed
information received from other cars in
Dynamic speed maps of UK motorways [clive, Oct 03 1999]
Caltrans speed maps
Dynamic speed maps of California [clive, Oct 03 1999]
WSDOT speed maps
Dynamic speed maps of Seattle and Tacoma, WA [egnor, Oct 03 1999]
Chicagoland Expressway Congestion Map
Dynamic speed maps of the Chicago expressway system. [koz, Oct 03 1999]
Tracking highway speed by cell phones
Another possible way to track traffic congestion without devices embedded in the highway or in the cars. Simply track the speed of the cell phone radio signals as people whiz by... [koz, Oct 03 1999]
[egnor, Oct 03 1999]
[egnor, Oct 03 1999]
San Diego speed map
San Diego speed map [gd, Oct 03 1999]
Atlanta Georgia speed map
Only covers major highways, but is handy. [krelnik, Oct 02 2002]
Yahoo speed maps.
[jutta, Jan 16 2005]
||If you can collect and distribute this in realtime, it can be used for route tweaking. That is, when my car recognizes that I'm headed for home (or my favorite lunch place), it can look at the route I usually take on the speed map to see if there's a problem, and suggest a tweak.
||Wouldn't it be useful to know the legal speed limit of a road also, and if it is a speed trap?
||A variation of this would be to occasionally paint stripes on the road at a pitch such that, if you were going exactly the speed limit, 60 of the stripes would go by in one second.
||Then, cars could be equipped with detectors which look for these stripes and using your present speed, calculate the speed limit and highlight it on your spedometer.
||It strikes me that such stripes would make an audible sound (if painted on in that thick road marking style). You could paint stripes on the road which played and audible message ("School Zone: Excercise Caution").
||"Driving into a city, one can
generally assume a certain amount
of slow down due to congestion..."
||If you think that's an adequate
description, you've clearly never
lived in an area with heavy
congestion. In this area, the
amount of time it takes to get
from Point A to Point B can vary
by as much as an order of
magnitude depending on the route
you choose, the precise time of
day, and the specific day of the week.
||Locals in the Seattle area, for
example, know that attempting to
travel westbound on SR 520 between
I-405 and 92nd Ave at 4:30 PM on
Friday is an exercise in painful
futility, or that there are
frequently inexplicable slowdowns
on I-5 north of the ship canal
bridge. Someone visiting from out
of town wouldn't know these
things, and certainly wouldn't
know which alternative routes to take.
||(Having been in the "out of
towner" role in cities like New
York and San Francisco, I can
attest that it's not obvious. "Oh
my god, you tried to go crosstown
in Manhattan on a Sunday morning?
You should have taken ...")
||The radio might help, but you're
not guaranteed to hear a
sufficiently details traffic
report in time to help your
planning, and even if you do
you'll have to correlate terms
like "the S-curves" to features on
that Rand McNally map of yours.
||The real issue is in representing
intensely time-varying data on a
static paper map.
||waugsqueke: what you describe is fine for a low-traffic region. Living in the San Francisco bay area, I have seen 50-mile stretches of highway, zoned for "maximum speed 65," stuck in a crawl of 15mph or less because of congestion. Clearly I would want to know when that is the case so I could potentially reroute my trip. The DOT California web site (www.dot.ca.gov) has links for San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco speed maps, but I could only get something back from the San Diego link.
||But I also want to be able to get this data in my car once I leave. Then when I approach a slowdown, I can see if it's just a bad case of rubbernecking that will be over in a few miles, or if it's an epidemic slowdown that needs to be avoided.
||Of course, with the readiness of such information in one's car, the "fast" roads would be quickly discovered.
||I imagine you'd want many different pages for each region, then, so you could represent different times of day, days of the week, seasons, and maybe special events.
||Congrats on your prescience.