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June 14, 2012

Beep! Beep! Better traffic coverage on the way

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!