Driving to work in a big city can be a nightmare so that’s why it pays to plan ahead. For most people the process of avoiding traffic jams entails listening to the local radio station for the traffic report. This works fine if you have enough time to wait patiently for the report to be played but if you miss it by a couple of seconds you may have to wait another half an hour for the station to play it again. Most people don’t have a lot of time in the morning to sit around and wait for traffic reports and they just end up leaving for work before they get a chance to check for problems along their route. Inevitably they wind up stuck in a traffic jam or construction they could have avoided with the right information. The Is There A Traffic Jam? app is designed to help you check for traffic jams before you ever leave the house. This is a free traffic app and it’s compatible with the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
For a traffic app to be useful it has to supply timely traffic reports in an easy-to-understand format that doesn’t require a large learning curve; let’s face it, we’re rushed enough in the mornings we don’t need a complicated app making things worse. There is a lot of choice in this category so a developer has to work hard to produce an app that people will actually use. Unfortunately Is There A Traffic Jam? doesn’t overwhelm you with must have features; instead, it’s actually a little underwhelming.
This app has numerous issues starting with the fact that it does not transition well if you flip from portrait view to landscape view. Whenever I did this menu icons would disappear and I would have to switch back to the other view to access those menu items. An even more annoying issue was the app's inability to retain information. It would let me save different points along my route but any time I exited the app the points would lose the names I had given them. My route name would also be lost. There are also banner ads in this app which appear to cover up some of the app's functions. Ads aren’t unusual in a free app, but ads that block app features certainly are unusual and for good reason. This app will require 55.7 MB of available space on your iOS device.
How it Works
The first time you run the app you’ll be given a brief tour of some of its features. This can also be accessed later through the Settings icon. The Help section does a decent job of explaining how you add a new route to the app and how to add check points. To add a route all you have to do is tap on the menu icon in the top left corner and then tap on add new route. The app allows you to give your route a name and to pick an icon to represent that route; once your route's created you can tap on it at any time to add route points. They do suggest you give your points names that are meaningful, but any time I entered a name for a route point it would disappear as soon as I went back to my route view.
If you’re expecting a lot of useful traffic reports in this app you’re going to be disappointed. There are no news reports at all. When a point on your route is congested with traffic the road simply changes color from green to red. There are no explanations of why traffic is jammed up or how long it might last. Overall this app is pretty disappointing.
Includes tutorial which can be accessed at any time through the Settings menu
Easy to use
Does not transition well from landscape to portrait view
Does not save names given to route points
Banner ads actually block some of the apps features
If you’re looking for an app that can provide real-time information about traffic jams along your route you may want to consider Is There A Traffic Jam? This app does work, although the information it provides is very basic and there are far too many quirks for it to be your app of choice. If you want an app that provides detailed traffic reports this is not it.
Cherry is a hard-working writer and an aspiring web designer who can't go a day without using her favorite apps. She's always on the lookout for new apps and enjoys discovering ones that others have overlooked.