November 24, 2009

Beat the Traffic for Thanksgiving

Still plenty of time to prepare for what some are saying will be the worst car traffic jams in a long with this Thanksgiving, starting Wednesday and stretching into Thursday. The down economy is keeping pursestrings tight, and more people are traveling by car, creating a firestorm of potential accidents, traffic jams and lost time. There are plenty of GPS solutions to the problem, and some non-GPS solutions to the problem, here are a few ideas:

Travel in "Off Peak Times" - Traffic leader Inrix predicts that traveling either Wednesday morning or Thursday morning will be a good strategy to beat the traffic - no GPS needed for this one.

Use Websites to research -

  • While Google won't tell you how long the traffic jam will hurt you, it will help predict in the future what traffic will be like. Use Google Maps to search for your area, then click on Traffic and see the live conditions. Unfortunately it looks like Google Maps isn't yet incorporating the holiday week traffic into its prediction engine; net Thursday and Friday look like a regular rush hour drive; whoops!
  • Traffic.com - plug in your start and destination and you will get a custom set of directions, including the "Fastest Now" and the "Direct Drive" which may include some traffic delays that they will spell out for you. You can also access their free mobile site; http://mobi.traffic.com from the road.

Mobile Phone Solutions - You don't need an iPhone to get a mobile phone solution that has traffic; you do need a more advanced phone though:

  • Telenav Navigator - available for many Black Berry units, and others, the inexpensive navigation service offers you live traffic updates, and will help re-route you. For $9.99 a month, this is inexpensive. You like it keep it, you don't, cancel. More at Telenav on supported devices
  • Verizon's VZ Navigator - offers traffic also, same $9.99 a month. At Verizon

iPhone Solutions - Navigation Apps

  • Navigon App for North America icon- for an extra $15 you can get live traffic added to the App. So, the App is $20 off, and the traffic is $10 off right now through 11/30, which will bring you under $100 for that iPhone App you've been wanting anyway..... Their traffic is based on the Inrix data feed.
  • AT&T Navigation App - is free but the monthly service costs $9.99 - it's a Telenav product.

iPhone Traffic Solutions

  • Inrix Traffic! - Offers a point of view of what's happening now and a glimpse into the future with a traffic prediction. - Free
  • Traffic.com - Offers a view into traffic, with some functionality coming over from their website. - Free
  • I happen to like Inrix's App better, but take them both; they're free and don't take up that much space

  • A-ha - An interesting look at the traffic interface - no maps, just shout outs about traffic issues in your area. Worth bringing, but offers a disadvantage if you are not totally familiar with the area as you may have trouble understanding where a traffic jam is just from the audible alert. - Free
Good Luck and safe travels......

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Posted by Scott Martin at November 24, 2009 8:00 AM

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