How to Check Real-Time Traffic in Google Maps

Traffic information is so important, it's one tap away inside Layers

What to Know

  • From the app: tap layers button > Traffic.
  • From website: hover over Layers > select Traffic. Choose Live traffic > Typical traffic for other days/times.
  • Green roads mean no traffic delays. Orange and red indicate slower traffic.

This article explains how to see traffic on Google Maps from the desktop website and the mobile app for iOS and Android.

How to Check Google Maps Traffic on Android or iOS

It's easy to see Google Maps traffic from your phone or tablet, as long as you know where to look.

  1. Tap the layers button at the top-right of the app.

  2. Choose Traffic.

  3. Press X on the layers panel, or select the map, to see traffic on Google Maps.

    The Layers and Traffic buttons highlighted in the Google Maps app on an Android phone.

    Traffic data isn't available for all roads.

How to Check Google Maps Traffic on a Computer

Browsing Google Maps with traffic is also possible from a computer via the desktop website. It works a lot like the mobile app.

  1. Hover your mouse over the Layers button in the bottom-left corner of the map.

    The Layers button highlighted on a map on the Google Maps website.
  2. Select Traffic from the pop-up panel.

    The Traffic button highlighted on a map on the Google Maps website.
  3. Move the mouse pointer away from the menu to close it and view live traffic.

How to View Google Maps Traffic for Other Times and Days

The Google Maps website (not the mobile app) includes live traffic information and typical traffic details. It lets you see what traffic usually looks like for any time of day on any day of the week.

As an example, let's see what West Hollywood traffic might look like on a Friday evening:

  1. Turn on live traffic (see above), and then locate the area you're interested in viewing traffic for on the map.

  2. Select Live traffic at the bottom of the map, and then choose Typical traffic from the menu.

    Live traffic and typical traffic highlighted on a map in the Google Maps website.
  3. Select the day and time you want to see traffic. The map will update automatically to show typical traffic for that specific time of day.

    The Typical traffic section highlighted on a map in the Google Maps website.

Decoding Google Maps Traffic Colors

Google Maps highlights roads with one of these colors to indicate the various levels of traffic:

  • Green: No traffic delays
  • Orange: Medium traffic amount
  • Red: Traffic delays
  • Dark red: Even slower traffic
google maps live traffic colors

Tips for Viewing Google Maps Traffic

Here are some other things to consider:

  • Use the Nearby Traffic widget on Android (called Google Traffic on iOS) to view current traffic conditions on your home screen without having to open Google Maps.
  • If you're planning a route, you'll see blue lines to indicate the selected path and gray lines to show alternate routes on Google Maps.
  • If you watch a busy area for a few moments, you might see the road change color in real time as traffic increases or decreases. This can help you decide when to get back on the road if traffic concerns you.
  • How does Google Maps know the traffic?

    Google knows the location of each person who uses Google Maps and has given it permission to use their location. It also knows if they are moving or not. Google collates that data to identify areas in which many users are driving but not moving; those show up as red in the app.

  • Is traffic information free?

    Yes, it's included with the use of Google Maps. However, you have to give Google permission to access your location to have traffic and turn-by-turn directions.

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