Monday, July 29, 2013

Save time, check traffic - Part 1

Google Maps Traffic - Green means good

Sometimes, we know there are software tools on the Internet but for we don't use them, or don't consistently use them

It's the end of the day, you were ready to leave work 10 minutes ago, and can't wait to get in the car and head home. If you're an office worker, with an Internet connection on a desktop computer, why not spend a few minutes to check on the computer before getting in your car?

I haven't been doing this, but have pledged to start after narrowly avoiding a 30 minute backup when a co-worker got on the highway slightly before me and called me (with a handsfree device of course) so I wouldn't get stuck as well.

In this Part 1 of this article, I list two options for those who aren't super computer savvy. In part 2 of this, I'll describe how to use Google Maps, and Excel to create a customized graphical display (dashboard) that shows the status of various routes you might take.

Option 1 - Google Maps Your Regular Route

Many of you likely use google maps when looking for directions. From a smartphone or computer you can search for directions, turn on traffic and save the whole search as a bookmark by clicking the "Link" button to generate a link that will regenerate your search.

#1 - Shows how to turn on traffic
#2 - Shows how to open the window where #3 shows you the link for your search
#4 - Shows the route, and time in current traffic (as well as alternate routes, and their traffic times)

If google is nice enough to show you alternate routes, then this solution works quite well. All you need to do is go to one webpage, and you can quickly see the current traffic times across the various routes.

Option 2 - Bookmark Multiple Custom Routes

If google isn't nice enough to suggest the alternates that you normally take, then you can click and drag somewhere along the route to add a waypoint, which then forces Google Maps to take the path you want. After it has your route, save that individual search link in your bookmarks. When you're ready to go home, click through your 2-4 different bookmarks and check the current traffic time on each route.

#5 - Shows the waypoint, which forced Google Maps to take an alternate highway.
#6 - Shows the "Short Url" checkbox. This shortens the link you have to bookmark down to something manageable.

Give it a try!

It's very quick to check things on a desktop computer, and if you've got one handy, why not check the traffic quickly before leaving? If your route shows it's going to take longer than expected, you can drag waypoints around the map to look for alternates.

1 comment:

  1. Luckily, small cities tend to have optimal traffic conditions...always...