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Tracking Traffic - GPS of the Future

BERKLEY, CA. (Ivanhoe Newswire) --Each year it wastes nearly three billion gallons of fuel and costs the country $78 billion in lost time and productivity, still most of us don’t need statistics to tell us how frustrating sitting in traffic can be. But what if you could have a personalized traffic reporter, right at your fingertips? We’ll show you how one project that is aiming to do just that.

It drains our cash, wastes our time, and most of us can’t avoid it…

“It’s simply, a nightmare,” one person told Ivanhoe

“It’s a nightmare,” another driver said.

But for civil and environmental engineer Alex Bayen it’s the perfect conditions for his latest project.

“We were one of the first to create a traffic application that gathers GPS data from phones to broadcast information to the general public,” Alex Bayen, Civil and environmental engineer at the University of California, Berkeley told Ivanhoe.

Bayen says since so many phones are already equipped with GPS technology, he can track the devices implanted in your phone to other sources -- to more accurately gage traffic.

“I think today people are looking at integrating massive amounts of data because taxies are online, buses are online, and people have phones that transmit data, video camera give data,” Bayen said.

GPS and other apps act like a mile marker, they can tell you where you are and give directions, but not until you input information. This project connects your phone’s information to roads and public transit systems. The result is an app that tells you what time to leave your home and even how much gas you will save using other routes.

“Our system aggregates the data in a single model and broadcasts the data back to users in the form of a traffic map,” Bayen explained.

The real-time view helped drivers navigate around traffic jams and find other routes. This same technology provides traffic monitors with up-to-the-minute data for your daily news. It’s like having a personal traffic reporter-- on your phone.

“It is very important to some people to have a human explain to them traffic, some of them prefer to watch it on a computer, some of them prefer to watch it on their cell phones. That’s really the future of transportation,” Bayen concluded.

The future of transportation--in the palm of your hand.

Click here to Go Inside This Science and View Video or contact:

Professor Alexandre Bayen
Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering
University of California, Berkeley

December 2011 TV Reports
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Prior Reports
DBIS was a joint production of Ivanhoe Broadcast News and the American Institute of Physics from January 2005 - December 2011.
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  © 2011 Ivanhoe Broadcast News, Inc.