FORT WAYNE – Fort Wayne motorists can now check their commute status as simply as they check the weather.
Google recently announced it is adding Fort Wayne to its list of cities where live traffic information is available through its Google Maps program.
The service, which launched in 2008, allows Google Maps users to see real-time conditions and estimated travel times for trips. Fort Wayne becomes one of seven cities in the state to receive the technology.
The service can be accessed by going to maps.google.com and clicking the check mark next to traffic on the top right corner of the map. It uses colored lines to show how quickly traffic is flowing on area roads. Green is fast, red and black are slow.
Most city roads throughout the Summit City were still green at the beginning of rush hour Tuesday. There were several yellow spots – slower traffic – especially by major intersections.
The service also lists major road construction projects, but it appears to include information only on state-run work. For example, it listed the closure of Clinton Street heading into downtown, but did not include the closure of Leesburg Road at Spring Street.
Information on traffic is gathered from mobile phone users with GPS who choose to send their information anonymously to Google, according to the companys official blog. The information shows how quickly vehicles are moving on area roads, allowing Google to provide an estimate for how quickly someones commute will take.
Motorists must use Google Maps for mobile with GPS enabled on their phone and enable the My Location function to send the data to the company. Drivers must turn on Google Maps before starting their vehicle to ensure it is sent for each trip.
The more people that participate, the better the resulting traffic reports get for everybody, the blog said.
The company also said it realizes people might have concerns about security and being tracked with the GPS data. According to the blog, an individuals data is anonymous and is combined with other data to make it difficult to tell one phone from another. In addition, Google locates the start and end points for each trip and permanently deletes that data.
There is no cost to use the service.