The advent of GPS-enabled cell phones has generated a wave of applications, Waze, Inrix, Google, the top three free phone apps, and they turn drivers into veritable traffic reporters.
Many people will meet traffic jam, especially at the height of rush hour. Then, the apps are needed. To help you learn some specific functions about these apps, I did a test drive last Friday. And, the following is my personal conclusion about the three apps.
It turns cell phone into a navigation system with voice-guided driving directions and offers the best at-a-glance display of road conditions. Opening up the maps application, users can get a bird’s-eye view of traffic across much of the city and along bridges and tunnels. And there are color-coded lines corresponded to the intensity of traffic: green for no traffic jams, yellow for medium congestion, red for heavy congestion, and red and black for stop-and-go traffic. To determine which way to go you just need to plug in your destination and Google Maps spit back a snapshot of a route through the current spot and your destination.
Like the Google app, it offers voice navigation and traffic conditions. But it is lacking of some coverage on your drive. There are color-coded arrows indicating speed popping up only occasionally. Despite traffic jam alerts from other Wazers, the alternate routes can also be function.
Where Waze stood out is the fun factor. Each user starts out as a cartoon “baby wazer” who can “evolve” and gain points by reporting accidents, blocked roads and other traffic issues or by simply driving. And the Wazers can also see “geo-gaming” elements which could cause one of the accidents show up on the map. To deter drivers from gaming while driving, Waze will disable texting while the car is moving. But it can be overridden by selecting O.K. in passenger mode.
Inrix Traffic is the only app that offers traffic predictions. Selecting “forecast” from the menu to see what conditions are expected in 15, 30, 45 and 60 minutes, a nifty feature if you’re trying to decide whether to wait for an accident to clear up or forge ahead. The upgraded Pro version offers faster, alternate routes for some destinations based on traffic conditions. But, it will cost $9.99 a year on iPhone. Unlike Google and Waze, Inrix doesn’t offer a voice navigation feature, but it does take factors into account that will cause traffic like major sporting events.
With the Thanksgiving holiday season coming up, everyone who is driving on the road could meet traffic jam. At this moment, what you need is not only those apps, but a Smartphone which supports GPS function.