Even if you know the shortest route to your destination, sometimes taking the longer route is still quicker. You know how it is, you come around a turn, look up and all you see is an endless string of tail lights crawling along. Darn! If only you could have known sooner. Well, lots of companies are working on that problem and solutions are getting pretty close.
Seattle is monitoring buses and using the data to create maps that show traffic flow and areas of congestion. The program is still in an experimental stage but could be one method for keeping you moving around the really slow stuff.
Another promising development is the recent planned acquisition by TomTom of the company Applied Generics. Applied Generics utilizes the information generated by annonymously monitoring all of the active subscribers in a cellphone network to show movement which in turn can generate road traffic information. TomTom, makers of the GPS units, could then overlay this info on top of their routing display to give you the best routes including traffic tie ups and open roadways. Definitely useful.