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Google Maps: how to predict road traffic and traffic jams in the future ?

© Unsplash/Henry Perks

Did you know that Google Maps has a very useful secret tool for planning your routes very far in advance ? This feature is the prediction of the road traffic and traffic jams on your future journeys – even if you plan to hit the road in six months for example.

The functionality is not necessarily super intuitive to find, so we explain in a short tutorial how to predict the traffic conditions on your next route.

18.5 M reviews on your smartphone.

  • Enter your destination so that your route is displayed in blue.
  • Touch the three dots at the very top right of the field where you entered your departure address.
  • Touch Set departure or arrival time.
  • Go to the Arrival tab to enter a date in the future (here Tuesday December 10, 2032 at 9 p.m.).
  • Press Ok.
  • How to Google can it predict road traffic so precisely ?

    Excluding exceptional events such as a strike and other 'snail operations', road traffic and traffic jams follow similar fluctuations from one year to the next. Google can also determine for its GPS application whether major works are planned in an area and aggregate this with other data. Which may include the evolution of the road fleet, or even the weather to reinforce the precision of its predictions if the date is not too far away.

    To do this, Google Maps can rely on data from Waze, as well as the location history of users who open the Google Maps application when they are on the road . A little machine learning and “presto !” : You can predict traffic jams on any route surprisingly accurately. This is a bit like what services like Bison Fûté also do; except that to predict traffic, the latter can rely on a network of physical sensors installed on major roads.

    This actually makes it possible to collect locations similar to Google Maps users' locations. We can only be quite impressed by the number of users of the application – which largely allows for these rather reliable traffic predictions, even if you enter a date quite far into the future. According to Google, the mapping app will have more than 1 billion monthly active users worldwide in 2023.

    In total, more than 250 countries and territories have been mapped by the firm, which includes numerous surveys of even dirt roads by various means (most often specially equipped cars, but in more complex cases by employees on foot equipped with a backpack loaded with technology. Satellite images are, for their part, regularly acquired by the firm from specialized companies.


    All this allows Google Maps to benefit from more than 50 million daily updates, making the application essential for finding your way around the world.

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    Teilor Stone

    By Teilor Stone

    Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116