Google just announced that it is bringing its live traffic feature for Google Maps to 13 countries in Europe. Google Maps, Google Maps for mobile and Google Maps Navigation users in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Spain and Switzerland will now be able to see the traffic flow on all the major roads in these countries, including highways and large roads in major cities. Israel, too, is getting live traffic information.
Just like the live traffic feature that went live on Google Maps in the U.S. in 2008, the traffic layer for these European cities will also update every 5-10 minutes. Users will also be able to get information about the average historical traffic conditions for any road by using the “change” link and setting the day of the week and time.
While Google didn’t explicitly state how it gets this data, chances are that it is mashing up publicly available information with data it gathers from mobile Google Maps users in these countries (that, at least, is what Google does in the U.S.). This allows the company to also provide data for smaller but heavily used roads that don’t have traffic sensors installed on them.