Sat-nav maker TomTom has launched a new and improved online traffic map that shows congestion hotspots across the UK and Europe.

The TomTom Live Traffic map is underpinned by the same TomTom HD traffic system as the company’s in-car sat-nav devices and is updated every two minutes. Traffic problems are displayed on a map as colour-coded icons that indicate the severity of the delay, with arrows indication its direction, where applicable.

Each icon also displays pop-up information for the duration of delay and its length, making it relatively easy to decide whether it’s worth taking a different route before settings off on a journey. Multiple incidents in the same area are grouped into a single icon in order to keep the map free from clutter, but the number of incidents each icon represents is also show,

Both primary and secondary roads are covered, making this an extremely detailed traffic monitoring service — it goes into considerably more detail than Google’s similar traffic monitoring for Android smartphones, for example.

Ralf-Peter Schafer, Traffic Director TomTom, said of the service: “You won’t find a more accurate or reliable source of live traffic information anywhere. The live traffic map is the perfect starting point for anyone planning a journey or who needs the most up-to-date view of the traffic on the road. By giving more drivers access to TomTom HD Traffic, we hope that we can start to make better use of the road network and start to reduce traffic congestion for everyone.”

TomTom Live Traffic is just about usable in a smartphone web browser too — just visit and use the on-screen controls for zooming and moving the map.

[TomTom Live Traffic]