New Real-Time Traffic Layer in Google Earth

Real Time Traffic layer in Google EarthThere was a another new layer in addition to the new Book Search layer for Google Earth in yesterday’s update after all. GEB reader Patrick pointed out in a comment (and others by E-mail) that there is a new “Traffic” layer (found down below the Transportation layer), and Google also posted about it late last night (since the main GE blogs seem to have missed it). Google Maps has had real time traffic since late February. Now Google Earth also has that feature. As with Google Maps, I presume the traffic data is only available for certain major cities (about 30 according to the latest count) in the US. The layer shows red dots for slow/stopped traffic, yellow for caution areas, white where no data is available, and green if traffic is moving normally. If you click on the dots, you get information about the conditions including the speed traffic is going.
The roads layer also has some refinements. When you zoom in close, the roads names don’t disappear as early as they used to. And the road thicknesses seem adjusted a bit.
Now that I’ve been playing with the new layer, I think the traffic layer should be a sub-layer to the roads layer. Cities which don’t have the information won’t show anything anyway.

About Frank Taylor

Frank Taylor started the Google Earth Blog in July, 2005 shortly after Google Earth was first released. He has worked with 3D computer graphics and VR for many years and was very impressed with this exciting product. Frank completed a 5.5 year circumnavigation of the earth by sailboat in June 2015 which you can read about at Tahina Expedition, and is a licensed pilot, backpacker, diver, and photographer.


  1. How does Google collect the live traffic information?

  2. gwhizkids says:

    I am still finding Google’s traffic data somewhat underwhelming. It appears the sensors are in place, there just aren’t enough of the vehicles equipped with the necessary devices passing near the sensors so that we get a real sample of traffic. Pretty frustrating out here in Westchester Cty, NY to always be seeing gray datapoints, i.e., no data to report.

  3. John Sapyta says:

    Hey Frank,
    Now GE has to do is add live traffic cams to the layer and it’ll be perfect.

  4. Matthew Burton says:

    I think they should link traffic cameras to some of the real time traffic dots so we can see the actual traffic moving.

  5. ross hodgman says:

    When will Goggle add traffic layers for the UK?

  6. sghaneshakumar says:

    I was able to see live traffic tro some cam icons in previous version of google earth but now the option is closed i m not able to see any cam icons and the “traffic” option is disappointing… new option doesnt have live camera links..

  7. Would someone PLEASE go to my hometown: Johnstown, Pa. and explain to me WHY WHY WHY can’t I see anything? I’ve had this Earth since it began and I’ve been waiting for them to update more Pa. sites, BUT THEY HAVEN’T!!!
    Has this EVER been updated? I used to have dial up and now have Broadband, but it doesn’t change anything!!! One last question: is there anything else like Google Earth that is free and better resolution? Not everyone lives in New York City!! And send me your answers to my e-mail address Thanks TOO!

  8. Diane, try visiting your town with then try the different mapping services. Some of them have high resolution in your area.

  9. Why can’t I find the traffic layer? I have all layers open in view… I can find it on my PC at work… is it not available for Mac? I have the latest version of Google Earth.

  10. Glenn Sullivan says: has high res images. Once you are on a street double click on the house for highest res images.

  11. I am also curious as to what happened to the cams layer for google earth? anyone know anything about it?

  12. Calvin Green says:

    Does anyone know how to get just the traffic layer or better yest address ranges with traffic status ie a tabular form of the data?

  13. Today is May 11. The Hood Canal Bridge, WA-104, was closed May 1 for span replacements. It is scheduled to remain closed until June 15.
    Currently, Realtime traffic shows that traffic is moving across the bridge at 60 mph.
    If that error exists, how am I supposed to know which Realtime traffic information I can trust as being valid?

  14. Traffic now for São Paulo – Brazil !

  15. please tell me how to hide the green dots of live traffic

  16. Thank you so much very helpful post keep posting like this

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