Real Time Traffic + Camera Locations

the first iphone
We Want Real Time Traffic + Photo Enforced Locations 

Traffic has been a hot topic lately with people debating which traffic providers.  Real-time traffic data services are destined to be one of the biggest advances in GPS systems for the consumer. While GPS devices strive to provide the fastest route from point A to B, they generally do so by considering the most optimistic road conditions. This route should be the quickest assuming there are no traffic delays.  Live traffic reporting services aim to change that. But which traffic services are the best in the U.S. and what type of data is available, and how well does it work?

When a debate comes up over which traffic data provider is “better” the discussion almost always ends up at which map has more colored roads. There seems to be pressure to paint more colors on more roads which are appealing to the traffic providers as it makes them look like they have more coverage in more places. To some extent that is true but if I am driving and traffic is flowing nicely.  I suppose I don't have to use the navigation or application on my phone and I can turn it off.  What if the traffic data providers starting thinking out of the box and provide another point of interest data to drivers like the red light camera and speed camera information.  You might be even more motivated to constantly use a traffic app at all times even when traffic is ok.  Also, I really only care about where I am now and what else might be around me like red light cameras or speed cameras if traffic is flowing.

Sensors & Fleet Data
Traffic data suppliers, like traffic.com (owned by Navteq), INRIX (independent), TrafficCast.com collect data from road sensors, local departments of transportation, data collected from operators of large fleets of vehicles, and other manual sources such as traffic helicopters and listening to police scanners.  Traffic.com is rumored to be making a concerted effort to monetize its traffic applications through advertising as it is no longer independent and owned by a mobile phone company Navteq / Nokia. INRIX remains commercially focused on OEM car manufacturers and is rumored to be an IPO candidate in 2010.

Cell Phone Data
Other traffic data suppliers like Airsage (independent) collect information by tracking congestion on roadways via your cellphone. This data is tracked "anonymously" through partnerships with companies like Verizon. Some criticize this method as being inaccurate especially in areas where there are lots of pedestrians on the street walking.  Google happens to be the largest customer of Airsage at the present time.

Visual and Voice Data
Some companies like Westwood One & Clear Channel use other drivers, helicopters, and visual traffic cameras to broadcast on the radio to their listeners about problem areas around the city.  This method is very labor-intensive and requires lots of people.  However, these methods are usually funded by advertising sales teams who sell radio air time.