Microsoft Will Play in Traffic

Company's Clearflow service latest to offer congestion avoidance
By Laila Weir,  Newser User
Posted Apr 10, 2008 4:57 PM CDT
Traffic jam is seen on a highway in Ogawa town, Saitama, near Tokyo Thursday, May 3, 2007 on Japan's Golden Week public holidays.    (AP Photo/Kyodo News)
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(Newser) – Driving could get a little easier thanks to a new directions mapping service that helps users avoid traffic jams. Microsoft is launching the free system, called Clearflow, today. It predicts congestion patterns on both highways and side streets and will be available for 72 US cities on the company’s site, reports the New York Times.

Clearflow uses algorithms based on four years of data to predict traffic overflow from highways to side streets. The launch follows a more limited service Microsoft introduced last fall, as well as a new GPS device from a California start-up that collects traffic information from other vehicles to warn drivers away from gridlock.