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Here’s an interesting fact: the amount of gasoline wasted in traffic every year costs $818 per U.S. commuter. What would you do with an extra $800? Here at Earthgarage, we are always eager to hear about the newest gadgets and projects taken to reduce traffic congestion because, after all, who doesn’t want to save money on gas and reduce emissions?

Smartphone apps that are committed to delivering you “real-time traffic” updates are flooding the market – we even promote many of them on our resources page. But search engine typhoon Google sees great potential in one company in particular: Waze. Google revealed in June that they would buy the software start-up for more than $1 billion. At last count, there are more than 50 million people around the world contributing to building maps and information for Waze. Brian McClendon, vice president of Google’s Geo operations, says “We’re excited about the prospect of enhancing Google Maps with some of the traffic update features provided by Waze and enhancing Waze with Google’s search capabilities.” Smart phone apps reduce emissions while reducing your stress levels about potential gridlock.

Waze is not the only burgeoning traffic monitoring company designed to help you reduce emissions and reduce driving time – the Navigant Research estimates the investment by cities in intelligent traffic management systems could total $13.1 billion between 2011 and 2017. According to the parent article here, this is part of the “smart city movement, one that has very real economic implications.” A company known as BitCarrier monitors more than 932 miles of Spanish highways and tracks about 40 percent of all vehicles. And a company called Iteris offers the consumer more than just a predictive traffic app: their data is used in Google Transit, which allows for detailed and up-to-date planning of timed bus commutes.

Try a few of these traffic apps out – and please let us know what you think. Knowing any thing is better than knowing nothing, even if it is a false traffic accident alarm. Planning your route in advance will result in less driving, less traffic, less gas, and less stress.


Earthgarage – Greener car. Fatter wallet.