Traffic Information and my Calendar
October 29, 2014 11:13 AM   Subscribe

Trying to find a good way to automate an alert letting me know I need to leave for work to arrive on time (based on curent traffic conditions) and Google Now is failing me.

I have a 27 mile commute in the morning on a mixture of local roads and a highway. Sometimes there are accidents, congestion from volume, rain, etc.. that can cause delays. So, the window for me to leave my house and be on time varies widely depending on the day of the week.

When I get ready to leave my house I tell Google Now to navigate to work. Then, based on the information I get as Im driving I can adjust my route (especially on the local roads).

I am trying to find a way to automate this process and even give me an alert when I need to leave. I thought this was a fairly simple process and put my arrival time on my calendar as a meeting. But, when the alert pops up on my phone, telling me I need to leave to arrive on time, I am already in my car and had I waited for the alert I would NEVER be on time.

There must be a better way.
posted by szg8 to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total)
Do you have an Android phone?

If I set up an appointment in my Google Calendar and include a location, my Android phone will notify me when it's time to leave in order to arrive on time, based on current Google Maps data.

(I didn't do anything special to get this, I just happened to enter a location in an event one time and discovered this magical property, so sorry I can't really explain how to get it other than "have an Android phone.")
posted by rabbitrabbit at 11:30 AM on October 29, 2014 [2 favorites]

Have you tried setting a recurring calendar appointment for the time you need to arrive at work each day? Whenever I have an appointment with a corresponding address in Google's calendar Google Now warns me what time I need to leave .. although I'm not sure if that warning takes traffic into account or just the general estimated travel time.
posted by gatorae at 11:31 AM on October 29, 2014

Response by poster: Yes I have a droid.

yes I have a location and a time on my calendar.

Location settings are on on my phone, so it knows where I am.

But the time to leave notification always shows up much to late for me to actually arrive on time.

For example, in the last two days I left at 7:10 and 7:17 respectively and arrived at 7:55 and 7:59.

The alert didn't pop up on my phone (A Samsung S4) until 7:30.
posted by szg8 at 12:03 PM on October 29, 2014

Where I live, I sometimes get traffic alerts through Google Now for the bigger highways. The smaller back roads and rural highways, not so much.

If the "leave now" alert takes into consideration traffic (and I think it does), it could be the case of just bad/no data.

Commuting sucks and I had that exact size of a commute until I recently moved. The only way I was able to solve the problem was to leave a bigger window and giving myself more time.
posted by PlutoniumX at 12:14 PM on October 29, 2014

Separate from the time to leave notification for a specific appointment, my phone also provides passive Google Now alerts that tell me how long it will take to get to my home or office. If there are significant traffic delays I get a notification that it will take longer than usual to get to work. Do you have those locations saved in Google Now?

But Google Now (using traffic info from Google Maps) only has traffic info about majorly traveled roads. If you primarily take local roads (especially with lower speed limits), Google has no idea if there are delays - because they don't have enough data points to compare actual traffic flow to the "normal" traffic flow determined by speed limits, stop lights and signs, etc. In the absence of reliable traffic data, it always defaults back to the normal amount of time it should take you to get somewhere.

If the information just isn't available for the roads you traverse to get to work, this just won't be possible. You should just plan to leave the house at 7 from now on, and if you get to work early, so be it.
posted by trivia genius at 1:30 PM on October 29, 2014

My friend who has a Windows phone has great experiences with Cortana, which does this.
posted by troytroy at 2:03 PM on October 29, 2014

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