Archive for November, 2011

Navigation for Everyday Driving

You may remember years ago I used a revolutionary navigation system called the Dash Express that was ideal for daily commuting: with a live Internet connection, it monitored detailed traffic data. While you were driving, Dash let you see conditions in front of you and would change your route if needed. Since the company’s demise I have been instead using my iPhone on my dash with a variety of navigation apps, and as apps have matured, years later I can finally say my iPhone equals the old Dash in usefulness for daily driving. The best part is thanks to apps like Waze and INRIX it is all free!


Before I drive, I run INRIX Traffic for a quick overview of my commute. I have tried many other apps with traffic, including the big name navigation apps, and INRIX repeatedly has the most accurate traffic data. Unfortunately, incidents are rarely displayed (this screenshot a rare exception) but it is perfect for looking far ahead on your drive.


For the duration of my drive, however, I run Waze. Still completely free, what started out as a kludgy navigation app now equals my old Dash Navigation in features, unmatched by others. Hundreds of other drivers are running it nearby (and can be seen on the map), and in addition to using their data to show truly live traffic speed data, anyone can place alerts on the map for warning others.


Stopped traffic, accidents, hazards, and speed traps all show up on your map and give you an alert if on your route. Waze adds some fun to your drive by dealing out points for reports or munching power pellets on undriven roads, as well as social groups and mood reporting. And just like Dash, your arrival time is continuously adjusted by changing conditions. These all combine to not only save wasted time by avoiding traffic, but adding some fun to a boring commute as well.