July 29, 2005 While there is more information readily available than at any other point in history, there is not much information that is really need-to-know-NOW. Sitcom TV, indeed 95% of the entertainment delivered by real-time wireless audio and video services (formerly known as television and radio) can be painlessly time-shifted, even archived , until a convenient slot in your schedule appears. In the grand scheme of information that is time-critical, there’s news, sport, weather and traffic reports with the latter two high on the list of things you don’t know that can hurt you. In 2003, 51 US urban areas experienced more than 20 hours of delay per rush-hour traveler – 20 hours of wasted existence. Traffic reports have traditionally been one of the stronger drawcards of morning television and rush-hour radio but as wireless information services become more sophisticated, we’ll be able to see exactly what the situation is on the roads between here and there on our handheld. Which is why Palm’s announcement of Traffic for Treo Smartphones is important – it’s a glimpse of the wireless connected future – and it’s available in ten cities now: Atlanta, Baltimore/DC, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle.
The wireless traffic application helps users make commute decisions quickly with interactive maps and incident information located conveniently on their Palm Treo 600 or Treo 650 smartphones.
According to the 2005 Urban Mobility Report, traffic congestion occurs for longer portions of the day and delays more travelers than ever before -- in 2003, 51 urban areas experienced more than 20 hours of delay per rush-hour traveler. Informing drivers about their options can contribute to more efficient travel.
Unlike most traffic information sources, Traffic for Treo Smartphones gives users both visual and textual information when they want it, on the routes that matter to them and updated as often as every five minutes.
"With commute congestion on the rise, more than ever drivers need quick traffic updates on routes that matter to them, so they can spend less time in their cars and get home to family and friends faster," said Andrew Breen, director for the Data Solutions Group at Palm, Inc.
"Now, Treo users can receive traffic updates as they're walking out the door, stopping for gas or at any time that is most convenient. Traffic for Treo Smartphones is one more way customers can take advantage of the wireless capabilities and versatility of Treo smartphones."
Up-to-date Traffic Information
The data for Traffic for Treo comes from Metrocommute, which develops advanced travel information systems to deliver enhanced traffic information. Metrocommute begins with sensor and incident information from local Departments of Transportation and complements it with information collected by its operations staff, and extra cameras and speed detectors at major "choke points," such as bridges and tolls.
Traffic for Treo Smartphones let users do the following:
- See primary, secondary and tertiary roads for specific metro areas to make decisions on different commute options;
Customize the application with a bookmark to quickly jump to a particular location;
Move the map in any direction to see the geographic area that is most important to them, and zoom in on a particular area;
Tap on a blinking traffic alert to get a dialog box with more information -- traffic speed and incident details, if available, such as accidents, construction and stalled cars;
Quickly understand the severity of an incident with red (most severe), orange (medium) or yellow (moderate) flashing alerts; and
Subscribe to multiple cities for access to convenient, up-to-date traffic information on business and vacation travel.
Pricing and Availability
Traffic for Treo Smartphones is available immediately for download.
A 14-day free trial is available, after which users will be prompted to go to the Traffic for Treo Smartphone web page to sign up for a subscription plan. Plans start at US$4.99 per month for one city.
Customers can choose two cities for $7.99/month, or all cities for $14.99/month.