How often have we been late to a meeting all because of a traffic jam? Nowadays, leaving for a destination early does not guarantee that you will reach on time. Traffic situations vary, not only during various times of the day but also each day, so planning a commute becomes difficult.
There are various mobile apps which assist in navigation as well as providing real-time traffic updates such as established players like Google Maps and Here (Nokia) Maps. While these apps provide a decent amount of traffic information, one thing I felt was missing was what was the reason for the red lines which indicate traffic jams on the maps.
This is where Traffline, which has apps for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry comes in. Apart from showcasing traffic information as colored lines, it also provides information in the form of text indicating the flow of traffic and what may be causing blocks on the road.
Traffline is a product of a Mumbai-based startup called Birds Eye Systems. Over a year back, Birds Eye System had raised a Rs 2 crore angel investment from Indian Angel Network.
The unique feature about this app is definitely its ability to give estimated travel times including traffic delays and live accident/road event updates.
While the iPhone and Android versions were released in October of 2012, the BlackBerry versions of the app were released in February 2013. The app has so far seen over 13,000 downloads across platform.
Brijraj Vaghani, the co- Founder of Birds Eye Systems told NextBigWhat that the sources of traffic information are different from other apps and hence the traffic information can vary. “Our information has been field tested by some journalists and traffic authorities in Mumbai and Delhi and the results have been encouraging,” he said.
The accuracy of Traffline prompted the Mumbai Traffic Police to integrate the Traffline webpage on their homepage.
Traffline gets their traffic data from three sources. The base information comes from moving probes. Accident and event information is collected from field teams and followers also report information to them.
We tried out the Traffline app on our iPod Touch and Galaxy Nexus in Bangalore. The UI of the app is very simplistic and almost the same on both iOS and Android. While the app does fit in natively in iOS and straight port to Android does not always work.
The app has a lot of features but misses out on a lot also.
The information that is provided is overlaid on Google Maps which is very detailed, so one need not worry about finding a place on the map.
The app has various buttons on the bottom like Route, Alerts, Area, Change City and Home.
Clicking on route one will be able to enter your start point (it automatically detects your current position) and destination. It then calculates your route and displays it on the map, along with the distance and the estimated time travel. If one logins to app, one can also save locations so that it becomes easier the next time.
Clicking on the Text button on the top will give one information of traffic flow on each road along with the average speed on the road. If there is a road block you will be alerted here. The text is also colored coded so one can easily locate problem points and reroute if necessary.
The Area tab provides alerts of all traffic information in a particular area and we found this really useful as one could easily see all the traffic problem around making planning a journey easier.
There is also an option to view all traffic jams in a city.
In our limited testing, we found the app to provide reasonable estimation of travel time and was on par with that provided by Google Maps.
While we found the text information to be highly useful, we missed a few features. For starters being a navigation app, voice navigation has now become essential for a hands free experience. Another thing that we would love to see is a bit more refinement on the design of the app, especially when it comes to the Android app.
It would also be nice if there was a way to report jams from the app itself.
In the future, Traffline plans to add more cities to enhance their reach and to further improve and add features to the app, Brijraj Vaghani, the co-founder said.
We think that Traffline is a great supplement app to Google and Nokia’s Here Maps and will probably be using a combination of Traffline and another app to plan our commutes each day. We can see ourselves saving time and fuel and reducing frustration of being on the road with this app.
Recommended read: How to make your travel easy using your mobile phone