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Handheld traffic jams

Handheld traffic jams

At the Intelligent Transport Systems show in San Francisco this week, the company TrafficGauge showed off its latest product launch for the San Francisco bay area region. The TrafficGauge device is a simple handheld that shows traffic conditions on regional freeways. Because there is no standard for traffic congestion monitoring, TrafficGauge has to develop products for each regional market. It launched traffic monitoring devices in Seattle two years ago, and Los Angeles one year ago. The device is very simple, consisting of a black and white LCD pane laid over a static map showing local freeways. When there is congestion, black bars light up along the various routes, static for traffic moving 20 to 40 mph and blinking for traffic moving under 20 mph. It doesn't show traffic on surface streets and the only control is a backlight button for night viewing. The device doesn't even turn off, but its two AA batteries last for two to three months, according to the company. Traffic information is delivered over radio frequency. The device sells for $80, with a $5 per month subscription.