December 7, 2004 A handheld PDA that analyses and delivers real-time traffic information where it's needed most-in the car, the home, or at the office- has been launched by Seattle based company Traffic Gauge to reduce wasted time and unnecessary stress on the road. The handheld, wireless device works right out of the box and can be carried in a pocket or purse, or mounted on the vehicle dashboard or windshield. With a quick glance at the TrafficGauge fixed map, commuters can quickly assess which freeway is stop-and-go, slow or clear, right from the driver's seat. The device requires no scrolling and is always on.
Data from wire sensor loops under US freeways is gathered by Californian transort authorities, which then provides this information to Metro via the Regional Integration of Intelligent Transportation Systems (RITTS). This information is then provided as a public service to the community via their respective websites. TrafficGauge accesses the traffic data information and sends a wireless broadcast of this information - up to every four minutes during peak traffic hours - to its hand-held wireless mobile traffic map device. In doing so, commuters are provided with a continuously updated snapshot of ever-changing traffic conditions. With its "always on" feature, TrafficGauge shows how dramatically traffic conditions can change in just a matter of minutes and allow users, at a moment's notice, to pick a quicker route.
According to National Transportation Statistics, the number of automobiles in the U.S. has increased over 60% since 1975, while roads have increased by less than 3%. Building new roads to keep up with this demand is both impossibly expensive and often impractical in metropolitan areas. Giving drivers real-time traffic conditions enables taking alternative routes or changing departure times to avoid traffic, benefiting both the individual driver as well as helping reduce overall traffic congestion in the community.
TrafficGauge's founder, Ryan Peterson, envisioned the concept of TrafficGauge during his own frustratingly long commute between Edmonds and Redmond. Ryan and his team of twenty software, hardware and electrical engineers and human factors specialists spent four years bringing TrafficGauge to life. Currently, TrafficGauge offers the real-time Mobile Traffic Map device and service in two U.S. metropolitan cities-greater Seattle and greater Los Angeles/Orange County areas. The company plans to expand its service and product offering in 2005 to other major metropolitan markets that suffer from high traffic congestion.
• Pinpoints traffic slowdowns - indicates light, medium or heavy traffic • Covers over 850 freeway miles throughout Los Angeles and Orange counties • Uses official government freeway-sensor data from Caltrans and Metro • Fixed, "at-a-glance" map display - high-resolution LCD screen, no scrolling required • Game day symbols show when the Dodgers, Angels, Lakers and Clippers have a home game; also show USC and UCLA home football games • Always on - no power button, 2 AA batteries last 2 months • Backlight for easy night viewing • Hand-held portable device - easily fits in a pocket or small handbag, or mounts on dash or windshield
The Los Angeles/Orange County TrafficGauge device can be purchased for US $79.95, which includes one free month of service. Due to its size and coverage area, the Seattle TrafficGauge device retails for US $49.95 and includes one free month of service. Additional months of traffic service for Seattle can be purchased for US $4.99 per month, purchased in six-month increments. Other service package options are also available.
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