Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Bangalore traffic caught live!

If you are interested in knowing the live traffic information about Bangalore, then you should checkout Bangalore Traffic Information System. This site has been there for a while now and probably the first of its kind traffic information system in India that provides comprehensive traffic and route information such as;
  • Detailed Bangalore map with real time traffic congestion indicators.
  • Live traffic Cameras (hey! I had only seen that in the movies!) that provide images of major intersections in the city.
  • Directions around the city with rough estimate of Auto Fare.
  • KSRTC bus route information.
  • SMS based information queries.
  • A Java based map application for those who have GPRS enabled mobile phones.
  • Carpool service (still incomplete)
Bangalore Traffic Information System or BTIS in short is a service from Bangalore Traffic Police in association with MapUnity (developer) and Airtel (Sponsor).

Here is an embedded BTIS live traffic map for your reference. It is not very clear how BTIS gathers information on traffic density but my guess is that they get this from analyzing more than one source of information like the Cameras, number of Mobile phones in the area, GPS devices in BTS buses etc.

Live cameras cover quite a lot of intersections and circles in the city and provide basic lowresolution images (unfortunately they are not 360 degree views) of the current traffic conditions. This is something unheard of in India before and an amazing stuff! Certain cameras are not functioning properly but still a very good effort by the BTIS folks

BTIS can provide directions from location A to location B by plotting the route on its Bangalore map. It is convenient for those who don't have GPS in the vehicles. However, I must say that the BTIS tries to calculate the direction information based on your request but mostly may not be accurate and some times it fails to provide direction information all together. It may take a while for them to tune up the algorithms but again it is a wonderfull effort in the right direction.

Here is a screen-shot of directions for Indiranagar to MG Road.

If you are on the move, you can get traffic updates via SMS as well. BTIS on Mobile lets you query BTIS traffic information just by sending SMS to 52225 (Airtel users) or 9845027222 (non Airtel users). There are codes for different locations and are well documented on their site.

Another best feature of BTIS is that its capability to provide bus route details. You pick source/destination and BTIS shows you various ways of getting around on Buses. It provides stop and transit information for different bus routes. Amazing for those who stick to buses to ease the choking traffic.

BTIS application is available for mobile users too. All you need is a java (J2ME) enabled mbile phone with GPRS and you can browse BTIS on your phone. Here is a reference video that I found on YouTube by raghulj.

Their Car Pool service is yet to start functioning and we will have to wait to see what it offers.

All said and done:

An applaudable effort by the BTIS folks and it succeeds in providing the information that peope like me are looking for. I really wish that Bangalore Traffic Department, Mapunity and Airtel find great success and provide more goodies for us.

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