Bing Maps now provides more accurate trip times when calculating directions around the globe. Bing Maps now supports traffic-aware routing worldwide, including Clearflow technology that predicts traffic on roads that do not provide live traffic data. This technology has worked well in the United States, and now we will be using it in every country with Bing Maps traffic coverage.
You’re probably already familiar with traffic flow in Bing Maps, like above – the colorful lines on roads let you know just how miserable or marvelous your commute is going to be. We also use traffic data to give users more details about directions and, specifically, to calculate travel time.
Now, when you request directions, you’ll see a more accurate travel time based on current traffic. In the example above, we show that the trip from Berlin to Munich will take 6 hours 21 minutes in current traffic. You can now also choose to optimize your route based on current conditions, by clicking the “view route based on traffic” link. This will adjust your directions to consider alternate routes in case there’s a big backup on the usual route.
When calculating traffic-based trip time and directions, we use several data points, including both live traffic data and extrapolated traffic data. This extrapolated data helps us determine what traffic is like on roads that do not report live traffic data. For example, Bing Maps extrapolates traffic on the ramps on a highway by considering live traffic data for the highway itself and traffic on the surrounding surface streets.
The technology behind this functionality is called Clearflow. To get a peak into how the technology works to create these inferences, take a look at this article in the New York Times, from when the technology was just being launched in the US.
We hope this new functionality will help Bing users worldwide get where they are going faster and with less stress, and we look forward to your feedback!