Newer GPS Give Traffic Conditions with Directions

With the Twin Cities seeing major population growth, that means traffic is on the rise as well. And as the congestion grows, so does consumer desire for solutions to those traffic woes. Now, there's a new feature on some global positioning systems to help.

The highways and byways are getting more and more packed.

"When we look out in the future, traffic congestion is going to get worse," said Tim Lomax, a research engineer with the Texas Transportation Institute. "Right now, we spend about six extra days in our car due to congestion."

And Lomax says it's only going to get worse. So how do you miss the jams?

"Typically, when you get in your car, all you have is a radio broadcast," Lomax said. "You might know a little bit about what you're facing on your trip to work or home. Now, you've got better access to information."

That's through some new additions to GPS services. Companies like Garmin, TomTom and Magellan are offering traffic updates, showing where there is construction, updating on accidents that may have slowed or stopped traffic.

"They don't give you a lot of text because it's difficult to read while you're driving in a car," Lomax said. "They're all built to be at-a-glance-type devices."

Update times vary based on the your purchase. The new traffic features do come with a fee in addition to the subscription costs, and probably aren't for everyone.

"There are some that work in rural areas, but typically, if you think about where the market is, it's in the urban areas where the congestion is," Lomax said. "If you travel to a lot of different cities, that might suggest that you get one that's a lot more flexible. If you pretty much stay in one town, there's maybe a broader range of devices that might be able to satisfy those needs."

So while TTI keeps their electronic eyes on the roads of the state, there are now options available for drivers to keep an eye out themselves.


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