Microsoft is taking a stab at the traffic problem with a new service called Clearflow. Clearflow is part of Microsoft's Live Maps service and it uses artificial intelligence to try to one-up the other traffic solving competitors. Rather than just watching the major highways and freeways, Clearflow also addresses the side streets that serve as the most common detour routes when traffic is heavy on the highways.

The system uses complex algorithms and machine mapping to analyze data from the major highways and the side streets to provide the best and most timely solution to traffic jams—meaning it may just tell you to just stay on the highway because the detour solutions are also heavy. Clearflow will be available for free for 72 major cities. There's no official word on the release of Clearflow, but when it is ready, you can go online and more accurately plan an outing prior to the trip. I'm sure it will be supported on portable GPS devices soon, as well. [NY Times]