Drivers using traffic apps to avoid gridlock

Drivers using traffic apps to avoid gridlock
Published: Oct. 13, 2016 at 8:27 PM HST|Updated: Oct. 13, 2016 at 9:20 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Before Ryan Ozawa starts his engine he fires up the navigation application in his smart phone.

"It's easy to see immediately that there's a backup here or that traffic is flowing smoothly over there," he said.

As gridlock grows, Ozawa and many other Hawaii drivers rely on traffic information from flow maps on their cell phones, tablets and computers.

"If there's heavy traffic it's going to show red. If there's light traffic it's going to show green," Kapolei resident Bolaji Egunjobi said.

Nella Kauwemaole's family uses it on their drives from Makakilo to skirt slowdowns.

"They're pretty accurate in what we've used, or what my husband has used. My father-in-law uses them all the time," she said.

Hawaii drivers can look at three applications -- the state's GoAkamai site, Google's Waze site and Google Maps.

Hawaii News Now traffic reporter Lacy Deniz likes Google Maps.

"It's normally spot on," she said. "Another cool part too is they also have where accidents are. Normally where the accident indicator is on the flow map, it's pretty accurate as well. I really trust the Google maps option."

A popular feature on the Waze site enables drivers to post problems they encounter.

"They have a hands-free mode so you just wave your hand in front of the phone, and you can use voice responses to say there's traffic or there's an accident," Ozawa said.

GoAkamai compiles data from traffic cameras and license plate readers.

"So it only looks at the license plate. it tracks it from one place to another and it gets rid of all the data after that so that nobody has to worry about us tracking anybody," State Transportation Highways Deputy Director Ed Sniffen said.

You can also access up-to-the-minute traffic information on the Hawaii News Now mobile app.

Ozawa's a fan of traffic applications, but he also sees drawbacks with the technology.

"I think one of the problems are is that it directs people down streets that are less designed for heavy traffic," he said.

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