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Traffic Service is now in Canada!
Marvin Hlavac

Microsoft Streets and Trips 2008 "Connected Services" edition comes with real-time traffic flow and traffic incident data via MSN Direct FM receiver. The service is already available in several markets, but at this point in time only south of the Canada - USA border. I actually checked as recently as yesterday at the MSN Direct website, to see if there were any Canadian cities listed. There was none.

However, on-line maps are usually a good early indicator of what may come to the DVD product, MS Streets & Trips, sooner or later.

Today, for the first time ever, I've seen traffic data for Canadian cities on a major on-line map. Google doesn't have it yet, but Live Maps by Microsoft already has traffic for Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal. I see traffic incidents in Toronto, and I even see traffic flow data along Gardiner Expressway. I'm sure more is to come.

The only question now is if Canadians have to wait for Microsoft Streets and Trips 2009 to take advantage of this new technology, or if we can buy even the existing MS Streets & Trips 2008 for this purpose.

As of today I see no Canadian retailer advertising the "Connected Services" version of Microsoft Streets and Trips 2008.
Marvin Hlavac
UPDATE: After the excitement of seeing traffic on Live Maps on my home computer last night, I was eager to plug in my MSN Direct receiver to my mobile PC this morning. Wow ...









The traffic flow data at the moment is available only for Gardiner Expressway, but I'm sure (I'm hoping) other highways will follow soon. Traffic incidents data is available also in other parts of the city.

So it seems there is no need to wait till next year for Microsoft Streets and Trips 2009 , the 2008 version works in Canada just fine . The only problem I see is that the "Connected Services" edition is not readily available in Canadian stores. A quick look at MSN Direct website reveals no info about this new Canada "traffic" coverage. As of this morning (Nov. 7, 2007) It is not yet even possible to activate the MSN Direct receiver by specifying a Canadian postal code. The drop down list contains no Canadian province, either. The only way a Canadian can activate their MSN Direct unit, is by selecting a state/city nearby. That seems to result in gas price info being available for that city only, but traffic info seems to be available based on your actual location (location of the MSN Direct receiver).

To buy or not to buy? If you buy this with the intention to immediately improve your productivity as a driver, you will most likely be disappointed at this moment. This is new technology, the data may not be available where you need it, etc. Also keep in mind that the 2008 version of Streets & Trips will not take into consideration the traffic flow when calculating a route. But if you cannot resist the temptation to try this new technology first hand, than the price may be well worth it . If anyone from Microsoft and/or MSN Direct reads this, feel free to join the forum, and let us know what we can anticipate in near future regarding this service.
Larry Seven
What happens when you click <Zoom to Region>? Does the map view change to Toronto?
Marvin Hlavac

Larry, the above map area is shown when I click the "Zoom to Region" button. It corresponds approximately to the current MSN Direct radio coverage shown on the picture bellow.

DJEvergreen
I seem to be missing something... How do you enable traffic in maps live? I see your screen shot has a traffic button on the top left of the screen, but when I go to the site I don't see that.
Marvin Hlavac
Hey, DJEvergreen!

It's good to see you here! Welcome to Laptop GPS World !

The reason you don't see the "Traffic" button is because you are located in Canada.

* One workaround would be to use a web browser other than Internet Explorer. I think FireFox would display the "Traffic" button, even though you are outside of USA;

* Another workaround you could try is this: Take a good look at the URL in the Internet Explorer address bar. Do you see something that could indicate for example "Canada" (ca)? If yes, try to substitute the ca with us. So for example instead of going to ...?q=&mkt=en-ca&scope=&FORM=LI... try going to ...?q=&mkt=en-us&scope=&FORM=LI...

Since only US had the traffic service in the past, this did make sense. I suspect eventually even Canadians will see the traffic button on the map - but perhaps for the time being the traffic service in the three Canadian markets is not yet ready for prime time .
DJEvergreen
Thanks for the info. I like how google maps does it. Where there's data, it'll enable the traffic button. Not based on where you live, but where you are looking on the map. Just makes more sense to me.
toyfountain
I can see the traffic button using Firefox. In my area (Montreal) only scheduled construction info is displayed by the traffic button. I can see the traffic along one section of highway for Toronto.
Marvin Hlavac
MSN Direct just added Canada to it's official list of Traffic Coverage Areas. Its website now lists three Canadian cities: Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal. It is now finally possible to activate MSN Direct units online by entering a Canadian province and city or a postal code. But I still don't see Canadian retailers selling the new Microsoft Streets & Trips 2008 with Connected Services.



Mister
I guess this is a good sign
I see the construction notifications, but NO color coded routs ???
Attached Images
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Marvin Hlavac
Mister, yes, incidents are available for your area, but traffic flow speed data isn't (yet) available.


Navigation Data Availability: http://www.msndirect.com/NavigationDataAvailability.aspx
Mister
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin Hlavac
Mister, yes, incidents are available for your area, but traffic flow speed data isn't (yet) available.
So that's the exact equivalent of.... NO service. This time of year with the potholes the entire city is a construction zone

Does incidents include major road accidents ?

The biggest thing for Montreal would be covering the bridges on and off the island, If you're stuck on th bridge, you're a sitting duck (literally) - shouldn't be too hard to get that info EH?
Marvin Hlavac
Yes, no much service, indeed. But Streets & Trips 2008 Connected Services is not even for sale in Canada, as far as I know. Hopefully, the next 2009 version will be (if there is more traffic data in Canada by then).
Mister
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin Hlavac
yes, incidents are available for your area...
I guess they gave up on Montreal.
I was walking (thank god) around town today. 3 major streets were completely closed due to construction but on <edit>Expired link removed</edit> it's just the same old news... we'll see in 2009...
Marvin Hlavac

Today, May 8, 2008, I see many more highways containing traffic flow data in my area. This is only visible in Live Maps, but I think it is reasonable to expect the new coverage to appear in Microsoft Streets and Trips 2008 within days, or weeks. I'll keep an eye on it.

I still see no traffic speed data for Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver, and other Canadian cities.
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