Beep! Beep! Better traffic coverage on the way

Beep! Beep! Better traffic coverage on the way

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Seattle’s traffic was particularly bad this morning. Fortunately, with Windows Phone’s traffic feature, I was prepared. As the program manager (and lifelong map geek) responsible for the built-in Maps app, I thought I’d give a quick introduction to the traffic option and highlight some new upgrades that have been happening over the past few weeks.

If you haven’t tried checking the latest traffic conditions on your phone yet, open Maps, expand the menu, and tap Show Traffic.

The Show Traffic option helps you decide the fastest way to get where you're going.

Depending on where you live, you might see highways and major roads change color. Green roads are clear; yellow and orange roads are congested. And if you’re travelling on a red road, make sure to bring an interesting friend to pass the time with while you wait in traffic. Black roads are closed. If no roads change color, then traffic information isn’t available for your area. (And if you don’t see the Show Traffic option at all, then read on—I have news.)

Those are the basics…so what’s changed? Thanks to the hard work of our partners at Bing and Nokia, we’re now able to offer expanded traffic coverage to even more highways and secondary streets, giving you more info to help you plan your journey. Try it for yourself! In my Seattle neighborhood, I can now get traffic conditions almost straight to my doorstep. And here you can see a before-and-after example of our traffic coverage in Los Angeles:

This shows the level of traffic detail we used to show for Los Angeles.......and this is what we now show. Notice how many new secondary roads are lit up.

But that’s not all. Soon we’ll be introducing traffic data for selected cities in Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom. If you live in any of these countries and the Windows Phone Maps app doesn’t currently show a traffic option, expect to see it become available sometime in the next few weeks. I’ll make a short announcement here when that happens.

Until then, happy driving!

35 Comments
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  • NeilPT
    1 Posts

    My Nokia Lumia 800 does NOT have real-time traffic updates even though this was available on previous Nokia phones and despite it being advertised in the sales literature as a standard feature.  So it is very, very annoying that Nokia Drive is not integrated with Nokia Maps (which has real-time traffic updates).  Why?  How long? Try living in London WITHOUT real-time traffic!  A major backward step for Nokia.

  • Friedel
    1 Posts

    It is a great feature. It was just turned on here in Germany. I love it.

  • I like the chnages. Keep up the good work. nice to know us non-Lumia Windows Phone users can benefit from the work done by Nokia

  • For those who complain that the current map system doesn't show them where they are immediately? Click that little button that says "LOCATE ME". After that very simple push of a button, immediately you'll be found to your exact spot, so when you search, no problems.

  • @ScubaDog -- I can agree with you more on the MSFT message.  It will be interesting how the OEMs take it... Using Rodney's sports metaphor, if they take it like a good role player hears it as "Hey, I got to step up my game" and MSFT shares the ball (i.e. licensing all the new tech to them), then OMG we as consumers win huge and Apple/Google has some catching up to do.  However, if the OEMs say "I'm taking my ball and going home", then you MSFT has their work cut out for them being learing to become a full time manufacturer.    Because MSFT really needs Dell and HP to say "Oh that is what you want (Insert forehead slap)" and then say "MSFT, we can do this 5 times cheaper that you know how to, we got it from here."

  • danc
    2 Posts

    I applaud the efforts and improvements the Bing team has put into this mapping tool. Thank you.

    However, I have to agree with @jeffgeno that the side street traffic data is currently useless. For example, during rush hour in the Los Angeles area Bing maps shows mostly green for the side sreets, whereas Google maps shows lots of yellow and red. Anybody that lives in LA knows that it's stop-and-go most everywhere during that time. If I was to depend on the Bing information I would be very late for every appointment.

    Where/how does Bing get the side street traffice information?

  • @bill94in98...you know, you may have hit on something there!  Branded Touch Covers!  Personally, I would have been ecstatic to see a purple one, but, hey, I'm just so darned impressed with the Surface anyway.  The thing that will hold back the WinRT version is -- all together, now -- apps.  I was hoping that with the Win8  DP, CP and RP that the Metro apps in the Store would have been pushed as hard as they have been for Windows Phone 7.  But, with the Surface Pro (I'm just going to resolve to refer to them as Surface RT and Surface Pro) being a full fledged PC, there really are no limitations on that device as far as programs you can run already AND you can access all the Metro apps as they come out.  The magnetic connectors for the Touch or Type Covers and the power are just brilliant.

    I know some people are worried about the other OEMs but I'm convinced this was Microsoft's way to say, "Okay, here's the bar, guys.  You'll be measured against this."  And I say GREAT!

  • @ScubaDog..  I was in your camp when the night started.  I emailing a buddy that if MSFT demos a tablet they will be laughed off the stage for all the fanfare.  However, I have to say the came to impress.  I like @Buckeye was sold that I was buying a 2 Yogas (one for wife and one for me).  Now, I'm can't help to think that we'll get one RT; one Pro and a cheap Dell box that sits in a corner when I want to hard core dev and I'm still paying less than two Yogas.  As long as I can VPN/RDP into my Dell when need be, I'm good.

    I'm thinking red, but MSFT might as well just find a partner now to make all the custom designs that people are going to want.  Imagine you are one of the Big 4 CPAs firms and you just pass a each newbie a new Pro with your insignia cover.  Quite impressed and can only wonder how the WP follow up tomorrow... WP go big or go home.

  • Now that we are talking about the soon-to-come (don’t hold your breath though) Microsoft Surface, I can now say for sure that this beautiful device will be my first tablet ever… I really love what I see! I have wanted to buy a tablet for so long but since I hate the iPad and the other tablets loaded with Android, I was impatiently waiting for Windows 8 to finally come out to hopefully buy a Samsung tablet, and to my surprise, Microsoft will be releasing its own branded tablet; a good looking peace of craftsmanship.  And all of this just makes me wonder (again!) why MS cannot (or will not) release its own branded Windows Phone!!! I know the Nokia Lumia 900 looks nice (and performs outstandingly) but I am tired (sigh) of seeing around tons of differently designed Windows Phones, just exactly as our counterpart Androids ones.  Come on MS, surprise us again with a Microsoft Windows Phone 8 (or whatever name you want to come out with)!!!

  • Um...wow.  I stand corrected.  Although I still want to see if Nokia is coming out with something, I'm thinking the Microsoft Surface (with cyan Touch Cover) may be the perfect companion for my cyan Lumia 900.  I was very impressed with the Surface debut.

  • Now, am I the only one who suspects this big Microsoft announcement this evening is going to be a non-event?

  • I have to say that, aside from anemic storage capacity, the Lumia 900 shows how WP should be done.  Nokia makes Samsung look like the poor country cousin with a snaggletooth when it comes to supporting advanced features.  The turn-by-turn nav on the 900 is remarkable and there are other enhancements too numerous to articulate.  Nokia is on top of it, period.  There's not a single OEM that can hold a candle to Nokia at this point.  Now, if they can just keep it up.

  • KTGiang
    34 Posts

    Can you please use Nokia's Patents for the turn by turn navigation so we don't have to tap to get directions anymore?

  • @ Chinedu

    Wow! A Razr V3... Hang in there.

  • @Rodney & @KR

    LMAO at you counseling other WP users Rodney. On a supportive note though, I feel your pain KR. I'm rocking a Motorola Razr V3 right now, the aftermath from my previous smart & dumb phones breaking and me not being able to afford a data plan yet. Also, I'm still rocking an Acer laptop from 2006. In the next month, I'll have money for a smartphone data plan and a new computer, but will be waiting for October and November to roll around so I can get a Windows 8 Apollo phone and a Windows 8 Slate.

    We'll both survive this crappy summer, and make it to the Fall. Until then, you can keep not sending multimedia messages on to me on my Moto Razr V3, and you can keep not seeing me while I'm using my laptop with it's broken webcam in Skype video calls.

  • arrow22
    50 Posts

    I appreciate the response Scott, and I'm glad to see Canada on that list now! Two questions along this thread remain unanswered though...

    1. Why DOES the turn-by-turn require users to tap their screens to proceed to the next direction? It's certainly a behaviour that doesn't exist anywhere else (and is downright dangerous if anyone tries to use it while driving).

    2. Why would WP7 Maps not support transit directions, when Bing Maps clearly has all this information ready (and a pretty slick interface)?

    Thanks

  • KR
    503 Posts

    @Rodney

    Dude I really don't wanna leave the ship, but I've waited too long.honestly the only thing presently still keeping me on the boat is the UI, that's it.i'll hold tight till November if my Focus doesn't die before.

  • @ Revengraus

    You will not! You are going to sit and wait to see what WP8 brings! You here me??

  • @Rodney yea I've been hoping 2 years for improvements, and now the official word from MS regarding public transit directions isn't "we're working on it", its find a third-party app. *furious* I have an even better idea, I'll be re-activating the SIM on my iPhone on Monday.

  • @ KR

    Cheer up dude..lol... I sure hope they make some improvements.

  • KR
    503 Posts

    Lets put it Simple Bing and Bing maps are failures for any non US region.i can't wait for another company to provide the default mapping Software on Windows phone.

    I use my phone first for calling and texting,then for emailing and internet browsing,and lastly for mapping,navigation and transit.those are my priorities on a phone and as time goes by windows phone is not delivering a good enough experience compared to the competition and I'm feeling more as if though WP is a great OS it is not meant for me.the entertainment vision of Microsoft with WP might be what will get me off the WP ship.

    I'm looking for a tool,not a Toy

  • Thanks to everyone for your comments. The issues you’ve reported are all definitely things we’re taking a close look at for future releases.

    @CrazyTegger: Canada will also be getting the traffic option with expanded coverage turned on in a few weeks. Not sure how that fell off the list, but I updated the post.

    .

    @arrow22: You don’t see Local Scout (a.k.a. “eat+drink”) turned on by default in Canada because we don’t yet officially support that experience outside of US, UK, France and Australia. We love Local Scout and want to see it in as many countries as possible, but we also want to make sure that we’re offering the best experience possible when we turn things on in a given country.

    @feek: One option for you is to explore the Marketplace and some of the excellent third-party transit apps. I can’t make a specific recommendation, but there are general-purpose transit apps available as well as apps targeted for specific cities.

  • nijmit
    1 Posts

    Want to start off by saying I love my Titan and can't wait for Windows Phone 8 (fingers crossed the Titan will get it). Speaking of maps and navigation, can someone tell me who's bright idea it was to have to tap the screen everytime I make a turn while using the "turn by turn" nav feature?  That's one of the worst implementations I've ever seen and hardly safe to do when driving 75 mph on the freeway or winding through a neighborhood full of kids!  Please tell me thus is going to be addressed soon.

  • First - why doesn't this commenting system support Windows Live authentication? Second, (now that I wasted 10 minutes signing up) why isn't there support for public transit directions within the Bing Maps app? Considering how glaring of an omission that is, I would expect Microsoft to push an phone update ASAP for this feature. Instead, Mango has long since released and there's is no feedback from Microsoft with regards to this. Instead, there's constant press for Nokia maps integration. More and more I find myself at my wits end with Windows Phone, and its over the little details (like not being able to navigate back when relaunching Internet Explorer app and not having something as simple as public transport directions). This compounded with the second-class support by app developers (in Foursquare case, zero-prioritization) it is more and more difficult to see WP7 as a compelling platform.

  • geoken
    7 Posts

    @arrow22

    Fellow Canadian, I'm in total agreement with you. It's pretty embarrassing that I need to ask my wife to use her iPhone anytime I want to do any kind of location based search or any function that would require using the map app.I won't even get started on how much better it is on Android.

  • arrow22
    50 Posts

    Scott,  live in Canada, which is not a country you listed. Traffic option is unavailable. BUT! If I change my "browser & search language" to "English (United States)", traffic information becomes available, and I gain access to the "eat+drink" local listings.

    What's going on here? The maps experience offered on Windows Phone is by far the worse experience on any smartphone, and I suspect the same is true in many other countries. I can understand some problems getting started when the OS was new, but at this point there are no excuses to not have these essential details addressed.

    It's quite frustrating to know that if you need to use the Maps app,  it probably will be faster to just ask a friend with a different phone to look it up for you.

    If I or anyone in the community can assist to reproduce, identify and fix these issues, I'd love to help.

  • Troy
    10 Posts

    Hey that's part of my commute showing in those maps. Its rare to see the 405 not all in red though.

  • mutabor
    7 Posts

    Awesome I noticed it this morning - what I nice surprise! Keep it up! Love my WP7 (can't wait for WP8).

  • The secondary street traffic information is useless.  It always shows green even in complete gridlock.  The highway conditions are usually pretty accurate, though.

  • feek
    1 Posts

    Not exactly on topic, but since you're the Maps program manager, why doesn't it have public transit directions? Every other smart phone offers this, and even the Bing website has it. After two years it's ridiculous this isn't included.

  • DjiXas
    46 Posts

    What about Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania?

  • Too bad this was taken out with the mango update for Canadians...

  • How about public transit directions? Kind of ridiculous that Bing Maps on the web can do this, but the specific app for when you're on the go and might actually need it can't.

  • and yet again..

    no Sri Lanka :S

  • arrow22
    50 Posts

    And yet most of my map search results throw me off to a distant country... Isn't it time this was fixed? I believe this is strictly a problem outside of the US. I would appreciate for this issue to be resolved, as it makes the OS hard to recommend to novice users ("Yeah, it does that, you have to specify the city you're in, the country and THEN search")

    Would be nice to be able to select alternative routes, and have transit info. Compared with the competition, the Bing Maps app is incredibly basic, and sometimes, unreliable.