Recently I made a road trip down to Virginia Beach for a wedding. Usually I know the roads I am traveling quite well, but in this case the route was very foreign to me. I have never been a fan of carrier navigation apps (mainly because of the monthly price) and have just used Google Maps if I found myself in a bind. Luckily, when I purchased my Hummer last year, they threw in a free GPS unit (refurbished of course) and I have kept it in my vehicle should the occasion arise where I would need it. Enter BlackBerry Traffic. I have heard of the app before, but never tried it or even read up on it extensively, due to the name. To me, the name made it seem like the app served one purpose, to keep you up to date with the traffic in your current region. I don't think it is such a far fetched assumption, but boy was I wrong....
Before Installing BlackBerry Traffic
So my drive down was awful. My Magellan GPS took me through 3 or 4 different areas under heavy construction as well as a couple traffic jams and small towns that seemed off the beaten path. I expected that the drive would be 9 1/2 hours each way. But after all the construction and backed up traffic, I arrived at my destination in 10 1/2 hours, a full 1 hour longer than expected. So as I was getting in my vehicle for the drive back, looking at my 9800 in it's charging dock, it suddenly struck me. Download the BlackBerry Traffic, and use it in conjunction with your GPS unit, and maybe this trip home will be somewhat bearable. So I proceeded to download.
To my surprise, BlackBerry Traffic was more than just a mere traffic application, but a full on navigation system that would guide me quickly and safely the entire way back home. I detached my Magellan from my windshield, and tossed it aside. Instantly I was given a nice visual of my route home (pictured above), including all roads I would be taking. I found by simply clicking the arrow tabs, I could change my view to a list, or even detailed motion view showing my speed, distance to next turn, elapsed/stopped time, average speed, and maximum speed (always under the speed limit of course :) ). So I was was all set and pretty confident about this new found system of navigation, and thus began my return trip home.
My 1st Journey with BlackBerry Traffic
My route showed 3 different construction zones I would be passing through on my return trip. I was easily able to program an alternative route around these hazards, with a mere push of a button. The route display was very pleasing to my eye. No moving triangle through the maps of your current area. Instead, I was given a simple step by step “list view” display of where I was going, when I was turning next, and when I would arrive at my destination. The colors within the app really makes glancing to your device quick, safe (especially when in a car dock) and easy to see with its dark blue background, white instructions, and yellow and red caution messages. BlackBerry Traffic also has a nice sharing feature. By tapping the "Share My ETA" icon, you can email your ETA to one of contacts in your address book, or manually add an email address. This seems like a very nice feature, in case you are running late, in multiple situations. On the trip home, I was able to avoid all constructions zones, and make it back in 9 1/4 hours, a full hour and 15 minutes faster than the trip down. I definitely give all the credit to this free application from RIM.
Overall, BlackBerry Traffic is a wonderful free app that you should definitely give a try. I am very happy I finally downloaded the app, and will be using it on all future trips. I know this great restaurant at the end of the universe, and am confident the app would even get me there, safely and quickly. More screenshots below.