Get ready to roll

There's plenty of room for growth with this traffic-estimating driving app, but it's not a bad start for a helpful tool.

Kudos to BlackBerry-maker RIM for continued work on the free BlackBerry Traffic app. We see the freestanding app as a combination of Waze's social traffic app, which uses crowdsourced data to get real-time traffic results, and the traffic layer that's an optional part of Google Maps.

Like the others, BlackBerry Traffic is a driving tool that estimates the real-time distance between you and your destination. The app sources a combination of historical traffic patterns and real-time data taken from other BlackBerry Traffic users in the area. In addition to displaying travel times, the app also shows off alternate routes and incident reports. There's a sharing feature so you can send your ETA ahead, using SMS, e-mail, or the BlackBerry PIN. BlackBerry Traffic also adds an element of location-based advertising by offering deals along your route.

Setup is straightforward. You can add your location manually for from your address book, and it's easy to search for and add other places using the built-in Bing search engine. While clear enough to read, the app is rather heavy on the text and could be visually cleaner.

In addition to the standalone version we have now, we'd also like to see BlackBerry Traffic as an option within BlackBerry Maps, especially when it comes to sharing favorite places between the two. We'd also prefer a failover location-fixing mechanism so you can estimate your ETA before exiting a building that may block your GPS signal.

BlackBerry Traffic is currently available in the U.S. and Canada on GPS-enabled BlackBerry smartphones running OS 4.6 and above.

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