Google Maps Gains Live UK Traffic Info

    October 22, 2008

Our friends across the pond may have a reputation for being polite, but that doesn’t mean they should be subjected to unnecessary nuisances.  So starting this week, Google and the Highways Agency are teaming up to provide predictions and real-time traffic info in England.

Coverage isn’t complete just yet; only the country’s motorways and major roads are marked by red, yellow, and green lines representing average speeds.  Also, either London’s roads are much less eventful than those Google Maps monitors in the U.S. (see Los Angeles or New York during rush hour), or information about road maintenance, lane closures, and accidents isn’t being shown.

Still, from a sort of global strategies perspective, the development is quite important.  Denise Plumpton, the director of information at the Highways Agency, said in a statement, "I’m delighted that we are the first country in Europe to work with Google and use our information for the benefit of road users across the country."  Her office noted that it’s supplying information to Google in a common European format, as well.

This could mean that Google’s ready to start showing traffic data for the entire continent.  Since users certainly like knowing current and future conditions, it would be a good way to earn additional market share and goodwill.  Perhaps a relatively cheap way, too, compared to something like Street View.

Keep an eye out for further developments in this area, then, in addition to some extra-punctual English people.