A new way to avoid traffic jams


July 3, 2003

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Friday July 4, 2003

No matter how good your shortcuts or how accurate the local radio traffic reports prove to be, city motorists often find themselves sitting in traffic wishing they had taken a different route home. If this situation is familiar, be envious of drivers in Seattle Washington, where a solution has emerged in the form of a handheld device that alerts drivers to traffic congestion in real-time. The TrafficGauge uses data collected on more than 280 kms of roads throughout Seattle to calculate traffic congestion levels and indicate light, medium or heavy traffic on the dash-mounted fixed display.

The system relies on data from wire loops under selected roadways gathered by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). This information enables the calculation of the speed of traffic and is accessed and formatted by TrafficGauge under a partnership with WSDOT. The TrafficGauge unit then acts as a one-way receiver to relay this information to the driver in real-time.

TrafficGauge is designed to be viewed at a glance, with sections of the display colour coded to indicate the level of traffic and data is updated as often as every four minutes.

The TrafficGauge costs US$50, plus US$5 per month for the service, but if course it only works in Seattle - although further expansion within the US is planned.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, (Australia's largest Telco), (Australia's largest employment site),,, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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