KHCW-TV launches free cell phone traffic updates

KHCW Traffic Jam Cell Cams will let commuters view traffic tie-ups on their mobile devices before leaving their home, office or school. Cat: Newsroom, News

KHCW-TV, the Tribune Broadcasting-owned CW Network affiliate in Houston, has launched KHCW Traffic Jam Cell Cams — a free mobile traffic service helping local drivers to spot and avoid highway tie-ups.

The new advertising-supported service targets the more than 2 million commuters in the region. Using the service, commuters can view traffic tie-ups on their mobile devices before leaving their home, office or school, to help them plan the quickest and safest route.

The service offers the station a way to communicate important traffic information to commuters outside the typical morning news show, said station VP and general manager Roger Bare.

The service relies on more than 600 traffic cameras operated by Houston TranStar to give commuters real-time traffic information anytime, anywhere. Houston TranStar is a collaboration between four government agencies responsible for providing transportation management and emergency management services to the greater Houston area.

Cameras are mounted along freeways, toll ways and some major county arteries in the region, including Harris, Galveston, Montgomery Fort Bend, Brazoria and Waller counties. This area, with an estimated population of 5.16 million inhabitants and 4.3 million registered vehicles, encompasses 5,948sq mi. Each day, local vehicles travel more than 83.3 million miles within the area.

New York-based mobile marketing and application firm 3rd Dimension developed the system technology. The KHCW Traffic Jam Cell Cams application is compatible with data-enabled phones on the Sprint, Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile networks, and popular smartphones such as the BlackBerry, Palm Treo and the Motorola Q.