An example of Caltrans' new QuickMap, which shows motorists traffic flow, lane closures, CHP incidents, message signs, traffic cameras and more.

Before you hit the road, you might want to check out Caltrans’ cool new website on your computer or its app on your smartphone.

Caltrans’ QuickMap, officially launched this week, provides real-time traffic information, from traffic flow to lane closures to CHP incidents to message signs to traffic cameras and more.

“It’s all about giving motorists a tool to better plan their trip,” Caltrans spokesman Matt Rocco said.

The info will help cut congestion by keeping more drivers away from traffic-snarled roads and it’ll make travel safer as drivers avoid the congestion, he said.

The traffic flow data come from sensors imbedded in many state highways and from other monitoring technology, all of which is fed directly into the QuickMap system, Rocco said. As a result, drivers can check to see if traffic is green and flowing or it’s red and black and extremely congested.

Clicking on orange cones on the map gives you info on lane closures. Clicking on yellow triangles will call up details about CHP traffic incidents. Clicking on a golden message sign symbol shows what that specific sign is displaying at that time. For example, click on a message sign in Marin County and it’ll give you estimated times to travel to specific points from that sign.

My personal favorite are the cameras, of which there are nearly 1,000 statewide. There are none in Sonoma County but a few in Lake and Mendocino counties. By clicking on a camera, you’ll see how much traffic there is. The ones in the Sierra and Shasta especially are cool in winter, showing all of the snow.In winter, QuickMap also shows roads with chain controls.

Rocco said Caltrans developed the QuickMap system in house and staff members have been working on it for the past year or so, with a “soft launch” earlier this year. But now it’s officially off and running.

You can access QuickMap by CLICKING HERE. The website tells how to get the phone app.

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