I’ve been quick to give MapQuest credit for effort, as they’re really trying to catch up the big boys now that their lead is quickly shrinking.
Yesterday they introduced live traffic. It looks very similar to the traffic info on Google Maps, but with more detailed information. The screenshots look pretty nice:
Here’s the problem — it didn’t work right away. I refreshed and reloaded and zoomed around for a while before I could make the “Traffic” checkbox appear. I later found another page on their site that gives more information about this feature. I thought I might find the answer there, but instead I found this:
Fortunately, they mark the traffic-enabled cities with a traffic light, in a virtually identical manner as Google. A quick glance seems to show that they have more cities than Google, but not by a wide margin.
Assuming their data is accurate, the clear winner appears to be MapQuest. Google has much of the highway in gray (“no data”), while MapQuest is showing data for everything. In addition, MapQuest has the clickable icons so you know exactly what the problem is.
For me, however, 95% of my Google Maps traffic usage is from my cell phone while I’m on the road — Google Maps Mobile is very useful. As far as I know, MapQuest has nothing to compare to that. With that in mind, Google Maps will still be the winner by default for when I’m on the road, but I might give MapQuest a try next time I check traffic info from the house.
Edit 10:08pm, 3/18/08 – MapQuest does have a mobile product to compare to Google Maps Mobile, and it’s called MapQuest Navigator. It appears to be a little better than GMM, but it costs $50/year and works on a rather small selection of phones.