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Rand McNally drives traffic data to phones

Publisher's service will offer real-time traffic downloads to cell phone users in 90 cities across the United States.

A new service from publisher Rand McNally will provide real-time traffic information to mobile phone users.

The new service, Rand McNally Traffic, lets people download information on traffic flow, congestion, weather conditions and accidents in about 90 cities nationwide, the company said Wednesday. Subscribers can either get information on routes they usually take or do a search based on ZIP codes of their destination and then check for incidents by roads, it said.

The information will be compiled from sources including transportation and law enforcement agencies, automated speed sensors and aircraft.

Rand McNally is working with wireless data firm TeleCommunication Systems on the service.

The service is currently available to customers of Sprint PCS Vision, AT&T Wireless and Alltel who have compatible phones. The service will cost $3.99 per month and will be available on other networks in the future.

Recently, MapQuest began offering downloadable maps for mobile phone users. Yahoo also has launched a traffic-mapping service but has not said whether it will be available on cell phones in the future.