Free on Android
Aquarius Solutions developed the product which is, at present, available free of charge via the Android marketplace. All data comes from the Highways Agency using its premier feeds, guaranteeing up to date information, and the traffi c fl ow information comes from the same sensors used by Traffi cTV.
Due to the current version being free of charge, traffi c cameras are not included in this release because of licensing costs that would be incurred, but they could be made available as an option on a subsequent release.
As a business, Aquarius Solutions focuses on the delivery of Android experiences, empowering users and extending their reach by leveraging the internet to its fullest extent. As various press reports would have us believe, Android is predicted to become the second most commonly deployed operating system in the none too distant future, so paying attention to the capabilities of this OS could be of huge benefi t to developers and users alike. The system runs on the Google Cloud computing platform and utilises Google Android mobile phones to deliver traffi c information to users, wherever they may be.
The Android app running on the device is responsible for providing the user with ‘near real time’ traffi c information. This information is automatically updated every three minutes while the app is active, but users can override this by performing a ‘manual refresh’, which is generally only necessary when there is limited or no access to a suitable mobile network.
Users may decide to enter their locations manually or let the application fi gure out the location via GPS. The app requires a location to determine the distances to traffi c events and will work with a default manual location of London, so if you’re not in the capital, you can operate the application normally, while leaving the GPS option switched off.
Navigation between the three main screens appears fairly straight forward using standard Android ‘strokes/taps’. This subsequently allows easy navigation around the core functionality of the application itself.
Looking briefl y at a map, it quickly becomes clear whether or not there are a problems on the road you are considering travelling that you will probably wish to avoid. This is shown simply via different coloured circles which indicate points on the road where average traffi c speed is below 40mph, below 30mph, below 20mph and then below 10mph.
Further zooming in to a specifi c area reveals more clearly the direction and speeds of the traffi c at various points within the problem area. Each of the coloured traffi c fl ow symbols indicate a specifi c range of speeds, in a similar fashion to the overview at a more zoomed out level.
The Traffic Radio element of the application brings live traffi c information from the UK Highways Agency to the Android phone. There are some similar solutions in the UK that cost up to 55p per minute, but once you have Traffi c4England, live traffi c commentary Traffi c Radio is completely free. To use this function, you simply select the region you’re interested in then press the ‘play’ button which will stream in the audio to your device whilst allowing you to continue to use other functionality on the app at the same time.
Aquarius are working on an iPhone version which has a targeted release date pre-Christmas, but, in the mean time, if you’re running an Android device, then this may just be the app for you.
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