Researchers use cellphones for real-time traffic information

A real-time traffic information system called , has generated some by using GPS-equiped cellphones to find congestion ahead.

Researchers at U.C. Berkeley are using anonymous speed and position information from drivers with GPS-equipped mobile phones and combining it with data from static traffic sensors. The information is then sent back to the phones, so drivers can make informed and immediate travel decisions.

If, for instance, the system is telling you Route A is crowded just as you are approaching it, the phone may then suggest Route B.

"Because of the high penetration rate of people with phones on the road, we hope to be able to gather information at a much, much larger scale than ever before," U.C. Berkeley engineering professor Alex Bayen, who heads the project, .

The researchers have tested the publicly available pilot program on several Blackberry and Nokia phones, including the BlackBerry Curve 8310, the BlackBerry Pearl 8110, the Nokia E71 (Unlocked), the Nokia N95.

The traffic information system is provided free of cost thanks to support from Nokia, Navteq, and UC Berkeley and a partnership with the California and U.S. Departments of Transportation.