Why I’m Retiring the GPS

I don’t actually have a GPS but my parents do, as do a lot of my friends, so when I’m going somewhere where there’s a good possibility of my getting horribly, horribly lost (*cough* Hamilton *cough*) I borrow someone’s GPS to ensure I make it back home.  I’ve managed to make out decently well with borrowed GPS units in the past but they’re bulky and I can’t leave it in the car for fear of it being stolen .  All that is a thing of the past now that I have discovered the wonder that is BlackBerry Traffic.    BlackBerry Traffic is a free app that you can download from BlackBerry App World and in my opinion, it’s better than a GPS and it’s on something you’re probably bringing with you anyway – your BlackBerry!

Once downloaded, BlackBerry Traffic appears as an icon on your homescreen.  It’s pretty easy to find – it’s the one that looks like traffic lights

Now I’m a huge fan of putting things in folders on the BlackBerry, but I leave BlackBerry Traffic out on my homescreen because I use it pretty much daily.

Once you start up BlackBerry Traffic, you can set up addresses for “Home” and “Work”.  You can also add an address to the “My Places” section if you know the address you’re looking for, or you can search for one you don’t know.

Once you choose your destination, the app does a search based on current traffic conditions and gives you two options. You select the one you want to take, and you get step by step voice instructions either through your bluetooth headset or through the speaker on your BlackBerry to where you’re going.  It gives plenty of notice for upcoming turns, allowing you to change lanes if necessary.  It’s best to set your destination before you go because otherwise your attention won’t be on driving and the app won’t be hands free.  (I have, when needed, pulled over to the shoulder to revise a route.)

I have a very bad habit of not being able to find my way to or from Ivor Wynne Stadium in Hamilton.  Every time I’ve gone there I’ve been lost.  Except this year.  The difference?  BlackBerry Traffic.  Before I left, I did a search for Ivor Wynne Stadium and chose which of the 2 routes presented I wanted to take.

The one I chose, ended up being great.  Note that BlackBerry Traffic gives you an estimated time of arrival – in this case about 30 minutes early but I was sure I would need that time to get myself un-lost.

The yellow exclamation point was notifying me about an accident about 9 km along the QEW – as it turned out, the accident was cleared by the time I reached that point but it was great to be prepared for a bit of a delay there.

I got to the stadium about 30 minutes early (first time ever!) The game went well, and then when I got back to my car, I simply turned BlackBerry Traffic back on and chose “Home” as my destination.

I got home in under an hour (a first), and with no stress.  It was great.  It was after that day that BlackBerry Traffic became my favourite app. It’s helped me avoid long weekend traffic on highway 400 to cottage country, and accidents on the 401 going to Toronto.  It isn’t the app i use the most (that would be either BlackBerry Messenger or Twitter) but it’s the one I’d miss the most if it was gone! One word of  caution is that if you leave it running, it does chew through battery.  Once you get to your destination, you should exit the app to conserve battery.

Have you tried BlackBerry Traffic?


    1. Weird, I was fine yesterday and earlier this morning. Now I just had trouble connecting to the server but I used it yesterday to avoid the Toronto Marathon chaos. I’ve asked friends who work at RIM to take a look… hopefully there’s a solution. it could be an carrier issue.

          1. What’s a battery pull? I called Rogers and they told me to delete the app and then reinstall it. All that did was to get rid of all my preset destinations.

          2. a battery pull is a hard reboot. Open the back, pull out the battery, put it back in. Also have you backed up to desktop lately?

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