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One of the worst things about traffic is that it’s so unpredictable. You can be whizzing along one minute, and crawling with the snails the next. Even the real-time traffic information that a few companies, notably Google, now provide, can be obsolete by the time you’re on your way.But a small cadre of lucky San Franciscans will soon be finding out where the traffic will be before it happens, thanks to a joint project by the California Center for Innovative Transportation (CCIT) at the University of California, Berkeley (my alma mater) the California Department of Transportation, aka Caltrans, and IBM.

The principal behind the system is that when accidents happen, the traffic jams up in a predictable manner, “like a shock wave in a fluid,” Alexandre Bayen of CCIT tells New Scientist Magazine. By combining these patterns with real-time traffic data, the system is able to predict congestion up to 40 minutes before it even happens.

The hardware for this initiative consists of “inductive loop sensors” in the roadways. The data so-gathered is fed into IBM’s Traffic Prediction Tool. Data from users’ GPS units and smartphones on their usual routes and travel times completes the circle, enabling the system to provide alternative routes. And it’s getting more sophisticated all the time, learning to relieve congestion without creating new chokepoints, a skill requiring the ability to predict the effects of congestion-relieving redirections.

Makes me wonder if an application like that would really work, If everyone followed the apps and specific routes than i guess we would have an issues with congestion being as bad as it is in most cities and everywhere!

Are You Ready To: Avoid Traffic Before It Happens? | The Truth About Cars
 

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In in a perfect world it would be a great idea. I just don't think it would really work due to traffic being so unpredictable. I would be one of the first to get it if it indeed works.
 

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I commute daily and use the same routes, if they are congested I have other routes to get around that. But knowing the roads to take not only help but listen to traffic reports on the radio help big time. There were numerous of times I avoided waiting in traffic cause of the traffic reports I got over the radio from a local station. I'm fine with my own way of getting around congestion, no need for the technology.
 

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Yes, I'd use it. I drive 50 miles each way to work and find that "real-time" radio reports aren't that up-to-date. Many times, I end up stuck in traffic with no exits in site.
 
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