Developer: University Of California, San Diego (Calit2)
Price: free Download on the App Store
Since the weather is more predictable than the traffic here in California, you’re bound to check the traffic report before you start your day or travel home from work each night. There is no way to avoid it there’s going to be traffic on your commute. California Traffic Report will provide you with up to date information on your route from The California Department of Transportation.
Here’s how it works. Open the California Traffic Report application and it will ask you to choose San Diego, LA or the San Francisco Bay area. First you’ll have to enter your routes into the My Traffic button. You’ll be taken to the web version of the app. Next, enter your routes — one for the morning and another for evening. Remember, if you have multiple segments you’ll need to enter those as well. Forgetting one can give you an extremely false sense of roadway reality.
Tap the My Traffic button at the bottom of the screen again after you’ve entered this information and you’ll get a screen populated with your commute time and the distance from entrance to exit. You’ll also get detailed traffic information that lists each exit and the speed of the traffic at those exits. In case you were thinking about taking an alternate route that you haven’t entered, there is also a Speed button that you can hit at anytime. This gives you average highway speed information broken down by freeway and exit. If you’d like to be reminded of just how generally horrible or extremely lucky you might be on the freeways you can also hit the traffic map button. Instantly view the traffic in Los Angeles, Long Beach or San Diego.
California Traffic Report has a nice visual interface that's easy to read even with the abundance of information on the screen at any given moment. There is a desktop version that it syncs to and that you must sign up with in order to keep your commute data up to date. I felt like the highway times were a little on the light side. But, it does give a disclaimer about travel time. Since it doesn’t consider side streets, your actual commute time is different than your highway travel time.
California Traffic Report, which is currently free in the App Store, works best when it has access to Wi-Fi in my opinion; it dragged using the 3G and Edge networks.