It’s been a long time coming, but Geosmart and the AA will start transmitting traffic data via coded FM radio messages from next week. NBR has some details, but basically any device capable of receiving the signals (and licensed to do so) can tell you what the traffic is like nearby.
The first device out of the block will be from Navman. I’ve had, just politely, mixed experience with Navman, but have been told that the new batch is greatly improved.
I’m really interested to know if the system will use the NZTA‘s new occupancy sensors. If you’re observant (like me), you’ll have noticed inductance loops buried every km or so all over Auckland’s motorways. Look carefully next time: they look like a grid of cuts in the road, and are often connected to a little junction box sitting on top of the median barrier. These sensors will give awesome, granular info on every part of the motorway system. Unfortunately I’m guessing they’re not ready to go yet.
If you’re a codemonkey, you might be interested to know that NZTA plans to create an open API for the sensor information once it is up and running. Data mashups ahoy!