Street Smart Traffic

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Thesis Abstract

Automobile traffic is a major problem in developed societies. We collectively waste huge amounts of time and resources traveling through traffic congestion. Drivers choose the route that they believe will be the fastest; however traffic congestion can significantly change the length of a trip. Drivers that know where clusters of slow traffic exist can choose other, more efficient routes. We could save significant amount of wasted time if traffic congestion patterns could be effectively discovered and disseminated to the general public. Currently most people use a centralized system that is over 50 years old. This system is fairly effective, but it has significant problems.

We propose a system that uses a standard GPS driving aid, augmented with peer-to-peer wireless communication. This system should provide more complete traffic monitoring than existing systems, and do so at almost no cost to the service provider. The project will be evaluated in a simulation. The system uses a combination of clustering and epidemic communication to find and disseminate traffic information. To work in realistic setting the system must be able to accommodate dynamic traffic patterns. To efficiently use the communication medium the system must impose a hierarchy on the peer-to-peer network. To accurately test the system we will use sophisticated automobile traffic simulators along with realistic communication simulators. This project could become a very useful system, saving millions of human hours and dollars.


  • I was just thinking about this problem today, as I drove along my tedious commute. I've read science fiction stories in which all cars are directed by a giant computer brain and people don't do the driving themselves anymore. This would seem to be entirely the most efficient way of doing it. I would be overjoyed, since I really hate driving.

    The solution you're proposing is not quite as pleasant, but is more readily attainable.

    A few years ago I investigated a company now known as Iteris, which seemed to be working in this area, at least tangentially. Have you heard of them? If not, you might want to take a brief look at their site, esp the parts about roadway sensors.

    By Blogger md, at 5:52 PM  

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