Beat Seattle Traffic with your phone...

Seattle has some cool traffic monitoring technology (LA has it too - as do many other cities). Sensors under the road let you see in pretty much realtime (ok - to within 5 minutes or so) how much traffic is going through a given area. It's great for avoiding traffic jams. They have an app on your PC that you can use (called Webflow), or you can just check their website before you head home. Neat, huh?

But I'm looking for a more ... mobile solution. After all, I have a Smartphone, so I can install apps on it.

You can buy a cute little LCD gizmo with a pager built in from - and ok, that's not bad. Except it's $50 for the device, and then there's a $5/month fee.

Pharos has an app for the Smartphone (at , but it's $44 for a year's subscription, or $5 a month, and I hate the idea of paying yet another bill - especially given that the actual data that the Washington State Department of Transport puts out there is available for free.

OK, so there are other (read: less expensive) ways to do it. One is this site - - but frankly, I just don't want a text-only interface. I like the ease of just seeing the visual layout of where things are congested, and where they're not so I can route accordingly. There are some J2ME solutions too, but I was up for a challenge at this point.

So I started writing my own app. I've nearly finished the display code; all that's left is the network code and the plumbing to turn that into stuff you can see on the display. Oh, and given that the WSDOT maps are copyrighted, come up with my own.

Here's a screenshot of where I am right now:

Now, admittedly, this is a bit hard to read, but it's the overall coverage map of Seattle. Hey, think of it this way - at least I know that the bilinear minify routine I wrote works.

(As soon as I have a finalized routine, I'll post an article to CodeProject with the bilinear interpolated stretchblt I've been working on - heck, other people may find it useful).

About the author

Simon Cooke is an occasional video game developer, ex-freelance journalist, screenwriter, film-maker, musician, and software engineer in Seattle, WA.

The views posted on this blog are his and his alone, and have no relation to anything he's working on, his employer, or anything else and are not an official statement of any kind by them (and barely even one by him most of the time).

facebook comments