Any major city will have its share of traffic jams and congestion black spots and its own system of monitoring the flow of cars. Normally this is done by costly cameras and radar systems, underground sensors or helicopters flying overhead. We may be able to add a new technique to the list of traffic monitoring systems thanks to a new low cost method developed by Atlanta’s IntelliOne and AirSage, reports the San Jose Mercury News.

The system works by tracking how fast cell-phone handsets are moving by using anonymous data from wireless providers. The problem is the issue of allowing an external party to process the data from the cell-phone towers, which work by calculating the position of a phone twice a second when it's being used and once every 30 seconds when it's not.

Data is converted into a visual map that shows average speeds along roadways. A pilot program is being trialed in Tampa with a planned launch in March of next year. The service will initially be sold to the wireless carriers who will share profits with the developer, but there are plans to sell individual packages on a monthly subscription down the track.