Mountain View (CA) - Google has added color-coded traffic information to its online Google Maps service. The red, yellow and green colors are overlayed onto the freeways of more than 30 major US cities and give a quick look at how fast traffic is moving. Green means relatively fast traffic while yellow and red stand for slow and stopped traffic, something that is quite common in cities like Los Angeles and New York.
Google Map users can easily find which cities have traffic information by looking for the traffic light symbols superimposed on major cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego. While Google hasn't said where it is pulling the data, raw traffic speeds are typically garnered from metal-detecting sensors embedded in highways and surface streets.
So far the information is pretty basic and there are no exact numbers or accident information, but it is a nice step for Google. David Wang, a software engineer at Google, writes in the company's blog that they "can't make traffic go away, but we hope Google Maps traffic info helps you avoid it whenever possible."
Other map services like Microsoft and Yahoo have offered live traffic data for several months.