A 5-year project has culminated in a system Microsoft says will help US drivers get about whilst avoiding traffic jams.

The web-based service, which is mooted to be called Clearflow, offers driving directions that help subscribers avoid traffic jams, according to a report in the New York Times.

The newspaper adds that it will be available as part of Microsoft's Live.com site for 72 US cities, it offers alternate routes, which take into account 4 years of real-world traffic data.

As the NY Times explains: "The system effectively created individual 'personalities' for over 819,000 road segments in the Seattle region".

The project started with traffic algorithms from GPS units in Microsoft employees' cars, and now has "over 125,000" miles worth of information.

It builds on a previous system, launched last autumn, but improves upon it by taking into account traffic patterns that sometimes see overspill roads, or streets adjacent to highways, becoming more busy than the main roads as everyone tries to get away from traffic jams.

The New York Times explains: "The new service will on occasion plan routes that might not be intuitive to a driver. For example, in some cases Clearflow will compute that a trip will be faster if a driver stays on a crowded highway, rather than taking a detour, because side streets are even more backed up by cars that have fled the original traffic jam".

Microsoft is not commenting on the system for the time being so we don't know when it is actually going to launch or how much it'll cost, but we'll keep you posted.