TranStar's Virtual Earth Traffic Map

Houston TranStar has developed a new format for viewing traffic information on its website. Along with freeway accidents and hazards, TranStar's new map also provides detailed information about the problems. Houston Public Radio's Jim Bell explains.


TranStar's new Virtual Earth Map shows where traffic accidents and hazards are located, with a lot of other information important to motorists. TranStar spokeswoman Dinah Massie Martinez says it's also connected to virtual maps in other cities.

"You can zoom in to a very close distance so that you can see neighborhood streets. You can zoom out, so far out, that you can see the traffic maps for Dallas and San Antonio. So you can actually, if you're driving to San Antonio this evening for example, you can go and  click on the San Antonio map and get all the information about about traffic there that you need."

Martinez says the Virtual Earth Map is not a satellite photo map, but it works like one. It's a detailed street map with clickable symbols that provide a wealth of detailed real time information.

"You can click on the message signs and see every message that's posted out there and exactly where it is. If there are lane closures that information can be loaded onto these maps too so that you can see where there are problem areas, and then if you click on that lane closure you'll also get all the information about how long it's going to be closed, which lanes are affected, exactly where it is and everything."

Martinez says the Virtual Earth Map won't replace TranStar's familiar Real Time Traffic Map, which will continue to be available because it's so accessible and downloads so quickly. There's a link to the Virtual Earth Map on our website KUHF dot Org.  Jim Bell, Houston Public Radio News.