Tesla Live Traffic Visualization

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Tesla Live Traffic Visualization shows crowded areas on your map. These show up as color-coded roads and symbols. The color used indicates how much traffic and where it is at. The point of the system is to help you avoid crowded roads.

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    What Is Live Traffic Visualization

    Tesla Live Traffic Visualization is part of Tesla Premium Connectivity. All Tesla navigation considers traffic to plan its routes. But Traffic Visualization allows you to see certain conditions on your touchscreen maps.

    From a high-level zoom, you will see roads colored based on their traffic flow.

    This is like Google Maps, Apple Maps, and other popular navigation products. Tesla’s color codes are a little different from others, and we’ll cover that in detail below.

    When you use a closer zoom on your screen, you may see other items. These include other vehicles, people, and other hazards, such as traffic cones.

    Some of these will be a close representation of what you can see, like the cars around you. But others are usually a general visualization on or near the roadway. These can look like traffic cones and people but might be other objects in reality. 

    So you may not see a traffic cone even if your screen shows one. It might be that there is something else on the roadway and all cars are veering around it.

    How Does It Work

    To show you this traffic information, Tesla relies on a network of information from:

    • Other Tesla vehicles
    • GPS devices and mapping services
    • Third-party traffic information

    Every Tesla vehicle helps the company and its navigation systems learn. Each car sends back details about the roads, speed limits, and real-world driving. But even in areas with many Teslas, that still isn’t enough for accurate traffic information.

    That’s why Tesla uses other information as well. Most mapping and navigation services do the same. This data can come from GPS-enabled devices, such as cell phones, tablets, and navigation systems themselves (Garmin, TomTom, etc.).

    Tesla isn’t very transparent about where the data comes from. Some reports say that Tesla uses Google’s traffic information. And some people notice the same traffic information on Tesla and Google systems. But others see major differences.

    Whatever the source of information, Tesla brings it together for your use. It then sees where you are and where you want to go, then figures out the best way to get there. If there is a lot of traffic on the usual route, it may send you a different way around it.

    How To Turn On Live Traffic on Your Tesla

    All Tesla navigation takes traffic into account. It will do what it can to find the fastest route. But Live Traffic is only for Tesla Premium Connectivity subscribers. So if you want to see the visible traffic on your touchscreen, you need to get this upgrade by:

    1. On your touchscreen, go to Controls, then Upgrades. Find Premium Connectivity and then Swipe to Purchase.
    2. From the Tesla app, select Upgrade, then Software Upgrades, then Subscribe at the top. Find Premium Connectivity and select Add.

    Once you subscribe, you can turn Traffic Visualizations on and off on your touchscreen by:

    1. Select Controls, then Navigation, and press the Stop Light Symbol
    2. Or you can tap the “. . .” icon on the bottom right of your display, then press the Stop Light Symbol

    Understanding the Live Traffic Visualization

    The traffic information comes up as color-coded roads on your map:

    • No color or green: Free-flowing roads with little or no traffic. No concerns about re-routing.
    • Orange: Minor slowdowns and slower speeds. Probably still not going to result in re-routing to avoid.
    • Red: More traffic or other road obstructions causing longer delays. You may save time by going around on roads with less traffic.
    • Pink: Heavy traffic with slow-moving or stopped vehicles. Best to avoid them when possible.

    Tesla will use this information to send you on the best route. If traffic changes while you’re driving, it may change your route. You can turn off automatic rerouting in your controls if you want it to stick to the route you select. Go to Controls, then Navigation, and enable or disable Online Routing.

    Your Tesla screen can show many other important items. These include points of interest like charging stations and your Home and Work locations. The default map is grayscale, but if you have Premium Connectivity, you can also see a satellite view map. Visit Tesla’s Map and Navigation page for more details on the options and how to adjust them.

    Does Live Traffic Show the Correct Live Situation?

    Tesla Lice Traffic Visualization does its best to show the actual traffic situation. The system’s goal is to provide a real-time look at the roadways. Then you can avoid traffic whenever possible and get to your destination hassle-free.

    But it is not perfect.

    Even though Tesla uses a lot of information, it still may not show the correct live situation. The data may not be accurate, the system’s interpretation may have a fault, and other problems can come up. It tries to provide the most accurate details but may make mistakes at times.

    In one rare example of how these systems can get thrown off, a Berlin artist packed a hand cart full of 99 phones. When he pulled them down a street, Google Maps showed this as an area with heavy traffic.

    Even though this is an extreme situation, it is a good example of the imperfections these systems have. While this example was for Google, a similar one could happen to Tesla navigation.

    Our Verdict

    Tesla Live Traffic Visualization lets you see traffic information on your touchscreen. Save drive time and help you optimize traffic routes.

    Want to learn more about what an upgraded subscription offers? Head over to our Tesla Premium Connectivity article for all the details.

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