Google adds real-time traffic information to Google Maps

Martin Brinkmann
May 25, 2015
Updated • Jan 4, 2018
Companies, Google

Google Maps' directions feature works considerably well most of the time. It can be quite useful to plan a trip but also when you missed an exit or need to re-route, as it can update direction information based on your location or another location you specify.

While you do get traffic information when you use the directions feature, those were only displayed on the map itself but not when you were in the navigational mode it offers.

Google is rolling out a new traffic information for the mobile version of Google Maps currently that integrates traffic information in the navigator.

The feature works in two different ways. In the first, traffic information are immediately displayed to you once you enter your destination in the app.

The application informs you about traffic jams, construction or any other obstacles that may slow you down on your way to your destination. In addition to giving reasons, it highlights by how much you are slowed down if you take a particular route.

The information are updated while you are following the directions Google Maps provides you with. You may receive congestion alerts that include a delay estimate so that you know what you are getting yourself into.

google maps traffic information

Google Maps may suggest alternative routes while you are driving, and each alternative includes explanations a reason why it recommends to take that route. Explanations given may highlight traffic incidents on the original route or simply that the alternative route may get you faster to your destination , for instance because of less traffic.

So, instead of just being told that another route is faster, you get the reason delivered right next to it which may help convince you take the alternative route to your destination.

It appears that the feature is still being rolled out. Google makes no mention whether it is limited to certain geographical locations. Some Google Maps users may have had access to the feature for a while already but for the majority of users it should be new.

The functionality seems similar to what Waze offers, a company that Google acquired in 2013.

Now You: Do you use an app for traffic information and directions?

Google adds real-time traffic information to Google Maps
Article Name
Google adds real-time traffic information to Google Maps
Google rolled out a new traffic information feature on Google Maps that provides you with real-time traffic information and suggestions.

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  1. Ron said on May 26, 2015 at 5:21 pm

    I use Waze all the time. It’s shown me shortcuts to some of my common destinations that I’ve never thought of before. I wonder if Google Maps gets its traffic information from Waze users since Google bought it a couple of years ago. One bad thing about Waze is that sometimes it will route you to an intersection without a stoplight where the cross traffic is heavy and it wants you to make a left turn. I’ll often backtrack to an intersection with a light so I don’t have to wait. Also, it would be nice if it would ask if you can use car pool lanes when entering a destination to give a better time estimates.

  2. Waqar said on May 26, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    I have been using it for 7/8 months that’s when I discovered it. Last year, I installed an Android app which works on GPS only and no internet connection required. You need to download your relevant maps and it helps people like me who still don’t have a data connection or want to save it. It is a useful app also if anyone wants to try it, the link is below.

  3. Andrew said on May 26, 2015 at 9:53 am

    It doesn’t get any better. Really in love with this feature. Google Maps for the rescue, all the time :)

  4. ilev said on May 26, 2015 at 8:22 am

    I use WAZE and this feature is indispensable

  5. KWE said on May 26, 2015 at 5:53 am

    I’m puzzled. Last summer I was traveling on I-40 in New Mexico and Google Maps in navigation mode said “Exit now.” Well, I knew that I didn’t need to exit now, but it turned out the route was closed by a huge accident, so I had to back-track and take the exit and drive around the accident. But GMaps never said why I should change the route.

    I also note a bug with Google Maps alternate routes. If you choose an alternate route in Google Maps and then deviate from the route, when Google Maps recalculates directions, it throws you back on its preferred route, not the alternate route you selected. Normally, this can be spotted unless your alternate route is miles ahead. Suddenly you are directed back toward the preferred route without warning.

  6. Naveed said on May 25, 2015 at 6:54 pm

    I’ve had this feature for a little while and it’s pretty awesome.

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