Auto Manifesto

February 13, 2012

A Path to Smarter Roads

How often do you have a day where your routine drive to work is full of red lights? Every last intersection seems to present you with a red light, even at those where there are no waiting cars on the cross street.

Occasionally there is a distracted driver in front who doesn't go for a while when the light turns green. Which results in the next light turning red on you too. Then it just cascades from there and the trip takes far longer than normal.

Though far better than having uncontrolled intersections, the road system can be maddeningly inefficient. Traffic lights only seem to get added, never taken away because the vehicle population has steadily risen and such removal could also pose a legal liability for those jurisdictions in which they're located.

If there were an effective way to know or estimate:

  • The number of cars on the road at a given time.
  • Where they are going
  • How fast they are traveling

Intelligent routing could occur. It seems the mobile phone is the way to go to provide that information. They offer much faster adoption rates and shorter technology life cycles than anything built into cars. Should enough motorists use such a technology we could likely make a material dent in congested local roads in a short amount of time.

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