Inrix Traffic 3.0 for Android, iOS gets better crowdsourcing

CNET Car Tech gets the early scoop on Inrix Traffic 3.0 for iOS and Android brings provider's traffic data to your smartphone along with a few new features.

Comparative Traffic
The Comparative Traffic view in the Inrix Traffic app allows users to see where flow is better or worse than usual. Screenshot by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

You may not know the name Inrix, but the provider of flow data and prediction supplies the traffic data for dozens of automakers, aftermarket GPS providers, and municipalities. It's very likely that you already use Inrix's data in some way without even knowing it. Inrix's app for iOS devices and Android brings that same traffic data to your smartphone along with a few features new to its latest version 3.0 update.

Comparative Traffic is an at-a-glance look at the major differences between the current traffic conditions and normal traffic trends. Roads that are moving more slowly than average are marked with a thick black overlay while those moving faster get a light blue overlay. This view make it easy for users who are familiar with traffic trends to quickly spot and potentially avoid problems.

Inrix also makes it easier for upstanding citizens who want to help other motorist by providing real-time reports of accidents, incidents, and congestion to do so with a new One Touch Reporting feature. This new, simplified reporting interface allows users to quickly report incidents with two (!) quick taps. The incident options have been reduced to two categories (police and accident) making it easier for users to keep their eyes on the road.

Incident reporting in INRIX Traffic
Incident options are reduced to Accidents and Police for easier reporting. Reporting an inaccuracy in traffic flow is also automated with a new correction option. Screenshot by Antuan Goodwin/CNET

While everyone running the Inrix Traffic app while driving is automatically contributing anonymous flow data to Inrix's network, the app is optimized for intermittent reporting so that it doesn't become a battery hog. However, if a user notices that Inrix's traffic data is inaccurate in a location, there's a quick mode that temporarily increases the frequency of their app's anonymous reporting, allowing that user to help Inrix's network and traffic algorithms to correct its reporting.

While the previous version of Inrix Traffic kept its traffic map centered on the user's current location, the new version has a novel feature called Unlock from Me, which allows users to browse the map freely for checking traffic in other areas. This combines with Inrix's current predictive traffic algorithms means that, for example, a motorist could check the night's traffic in Los Angeles before they start their trip from San Francisco in the morning.

Inrix Traffic is free to download and use in the iTunes App Store and the Android Market. The version 3.0 update is available for Android now and will hit iTunes tomorrow (Thursday) morning. Check it out and take it for a spin on your commute tomorrow.

Autoplay: ON Autoplay: OFF