In my first installment of this blog series about getting around New Jersey I wrote about 5-1-1, the phone system and website operated by the New Jersey Department of Transportation that provides construction and accident updates as well as other information to help you drive around the state.
In this week's edition, I'd like to tell you about some commercial websites which provide traffic information. Each has its own strengths and it probably comes down to personal preference when deciding which you prefer. I recommend trying them all and them comparing them to see which provides the most consistently accurate information for the trips you normally take.
I'm listing five of the major Web-based traffic providers here. There are a number of sites which provide traffic information, but most use information provided by one of these companies on their sites. All of these sites cover New Jersey, in fact, they provide national coverage so keep these in mind not only at home but also when you're traveling.
Here's the basic information you can expect.
- Traffic Speeds: Through color-coding, average speeds along roadway segments are shown. Two of the sites (Google Maps and Beat the Traffic) even show speeds on secondary roads such as county routes.
- Incidents: All of the sites show construction and accident information. There are icons shown on the screen. You can either hover your cursor over the icon or click the icon to get more details about the incident.
- Traffic Cameras: Of the sites, only Sigalert seemed to be providing current traffic camera views. This is a nice feature because it's always nice to be able to verify the speeds shown on the maps with a camera view of what it really looks like.
- Personalized Information: Beat the Traffic, Sigalert and Traffic.com allow you to sign-up for personalized route information. For instance, you can select the route you travel between home and work and get a personalized report for that route each day. You can also get alerts sent to your email address or phone if a problem develops on that route during the times you normally travel. Both Sigalert and Beat the Traffic have a free trial period. Traffic.com is free at all times.
Beat the Traffic - INRIX
Total Traffic Network
Traffic.com - NAVTEQ
Guest Transportation Tip
Miyan Levenson is a radio traffic reporter who you'll hear on WBBR, WNYM and SirusXM.
A Couple of Toll-Free Alternatives in Bergen County
As a reverse commuter from New York City to the Garden State, I am always on the lookout to find the best route to our studios in Rutherford on Route 17. Fortunately there are several options available. Here are two of my favorite toll-free routes when I use the George Washington Bridge. Take the I-95 local lanes coming off the bridge (I'm a fan of the upper deck), stay to the right at the split, merge onto I-80 and get off at exit 64B to pick up Route 17 south. Of course you deal with the traffic lights on Route 17, but I still find this the most effective choice. The other toll-free option coming of the GW Bridge is taking Route 46 to Route 17. I still stay in the I-95 local lanes, and get off at exit 68 (US 46-The Ridgefields, Palisades Park), just before the toll plaza. A pleasant drive through Little Ferry and Teterboro (I have yet to visit the Aviation Hall of Fame of New Jersey), and then picking up Route 17.