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Get Traffic Warnings with Your Directions with Clearflow

There's a useful new technology now available through the Live Maps service - something called "Clearflow" - which helps alert you to bottlenecks, traffic jams, and other obstacles on the road. This new technology was developed over the course of the last 5 years by AI researchers in Microsoft Research, a project led by Eric Horvitz, who came up with the idea back in 2003 when he was stuck in traffic.

To develop the technology, Microsoft researchers collected trip data from employees who volunteered to carry GPS units in their vehicles. The end result was an algorithm for the Seattle area that was based on four years of data, 16,500 discrete trips, over 125,000 miles, and over 819,000 road segments in the Seattle region.

Now Clearflow's algorithm is available to predict traffic patterns for 72 cities in the U.S. When there is a slowdown or traffic problem, drivers will be given alternate routing info to help them get around the problem.

You can test out Clearflow for yourself on maps.live.com

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  • noahcarternoahcarter

    Interesting.  Live Search/Live Maps doesn't get the attention or credit it deserves.  Though I'm a Google fan, I find Live Search to be a much crisper GPS tool on my Tilt than Google Maps.

    (btw - just discovered your blog here - nice work).

  • noahcarternoahcarter

    Interesting.  Live Search/Live Maps doesn't get the attention or credit it deserves.  Though I'm a Google fan, I find Live Search to be a much crisper GPS tool on my Tilt than Google Maps.

    (btw - just discovered your blog here - nice work).

  • noahcarternoahcarter

    Interesting.  Live Search/Live Maps doesn't get the attention or credit it deserves.  Though I'm a Google fan, I find Live Search to be a much crisper GPS tool on my Tilt than Google Maps.

    (btw - just discovered your blog here - nice work).

  • Thanks!

    I also think Live Search Maps and VE totally rock Smiley
  • quikboyquikboy

    I like the idea, but I think this might not work out in the long end. If many users continue to utilize these "alternative" routes that Live Maps gives them, wouldn't the data change in the next few years?

    You also have to consider the fact that these "test" GPS units in the employees' cars are all done with different types of people. Some people like to naturally take it easy and go slow, while some might want to be a speed demon. So do the GPS check with the variation of every driver?

    And what if there's a big accident that occurs on a route, a rather abnormal one where many routes are being congested. ClearFlow won't help.

    It would be great if MS could get "live" up-to-the-minute updates of the traffic congestions going on all roads. Though that would mean finding people willing to let their cars be traffic monitors. But it would be greatly accurate and far better in getting results.

  • quikboyquikboy

    I like the idea, but I think this might not work out in the long end. If many users continue to utilize these "alternative" routes that Live Maps gives them, wouldn't the data change in the next few years?

    You also have to consider the fact that these "test" GPS units in the employees' cars are all done with different types of people. Some people like to naturally take it easy and go slow, while some might want to be a speed demon. So do the GPS check with the variation of every driver?

    And what if there's a big accident that occurs on a route, a rather abnormal one where many routes are being congested. ClearFlow won't help.

    It would be great if MS could get "live" up-to-the-minute updates of the traffic congestions going on all roads. Though that would mean finding people willing to let their cars be traffic monitors. But it would be greatly accurate and far better in getting results.

  • quikboyquikboy

    I like the idea, but I think this might not work out in the long end. If many users continue to utilize these "alternative" routes that Live Maps gives them, wouldn't the data change in the next few years?

    You also have to consider the fact that these "test" GPS units in the employees' cars are all done with different types of people. Some people like to naturally take it easy and go slow, while some might want to be a speed demon. So do the GPS check with the variation of every driver?

    And what if there's a big accident that occurs on a route, a rather abnormal one where many routes are being congested. ClearFlow won't help.

    It would be great if MS could get "live" up-to-the-minute updates of the traffic congestions going on all roads. Though that would mean finding people willing to let their cars be traffic monitors. But it would be greatly accurate and far better in getting results.

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