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Yahoo adds traffic information to map service

Yahoo is adding local traffic information to its map service in the US, including roadwork and accident reports as well as the approximate speed at which traffic is proceeding along specific roads.

The service, to be launched officially Thursday as part of Yahoo Maps (http://maps.yahoo.com), will offer accident reports and road construction information for about 70 US metropolitan areas. The service will also provide driving speed information for about 22 of those areas.

The traffic information is layered on top of a map at the user's request. Icons are used to indicate accidents or construction, and color codes are used for the speed information, Yahoo executives said.

A Yahoo partner aggregates traffic information from a variety of sources, including road sensors, traffic cameras and local police and transportation departments. Yahoo packages and presents the information to its users.

To enhance and extend the service in the future, Yahoo plans to provide it via wireless devices and to add the capability of launching alerts and updates, and of offering users alternate driving routes, Yahoo executives said. Offering the service abroad is also a future possibility.

The traffic service is integrated with Yahoo's general web search engine, so that if a user enters the query "Philadelphia traffic," a link to the traffic information on Yahoo Maps is provided at the top of the search results. A similar integration exists with Yahoo Local, the Yahoo search service that lets users find local businesses. Yahoo plans to further integrate the traffic information service with other parts of its online network.

Juan Carlos Perez writes for the IDG News Service


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