UC Berkeley has been working on using cellphones to track traffic for some time now, first under the the decidedly less expansive Mobile Century project, and now under its new Mobile Millennium project, which has the backing of Nokia, NAVTEQ, and others. It actually first kicked off earlier this year, but it looks like it's now about to take another big step forward, with the researchers set to open things up to the general public -- or the general public in Northern California, at least. The idea here is to collect data from folks with GPS-equipped cellphones and combine it with existing traffic data, and then in turn make that information accessible via cellphone to let you plan out the speediest route. According to the researchers, the software will work on both Nokia and non-Nokia phones, but it seems that they've only tested it on the E71 and N95 so far (you can also view real-time traffic data on your computer). More details will apparently be announced when this new stage of the project officially gets underway on November 10th, but those interested in taking part can already register by hitting up the read link below.

[Thanks, Eric M]

Update: In case you're wondering about the potential privacy concerns here, UC Berkeley has said that it has built privacy safeguards into the system from the beginning to ensure that no data can be tied to a particular phone, and it also notes that users can control the service themselves and, of course, shut it off anytime they don't want traffic data to be transmitted.

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Mobile Millennium project promises to track traffic with cellphones