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Networking Communications The Internet Transportation

Researchers Apply P2P Principles To Car Traffic 111

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the traffic-eagle-eye dept.
alphadogg writes to tell us that lessons learned from peer-to-peer networks are being applied to traffic systems in order to prevent jams. "Their Autonet plan would center around ad hoc networks of vehicles and roadside monitoring posts supported by 802.11 technology (the prototype uses 11b). The vehicles would essentially be the 'clients' in such a system and feature graphical user interfaces to pass along information to drivers. They're building the system to be able to handle data on thousands of traffic incidents and road conditions."
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Researchers Apply P2P Principles To Car Traffic

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  • by EggyToast (858951) on Friday January 09, 2009 @06:22PM (#26393511) Homepage
    Most of the trouble I've seen, and most of the frustration I encounter, is from badly-timed traffic lights. And many delays are the result of civil service rather than accidents. For example, intersections that have very long red-lights lead to more people trying to speed through the light, causing accidents in the first place.

    This technology may help people avoid problems once they occur, but it won't do squat to affect the root of many problems -- bad traffic planning. Without a good traffic plan, everything made to "fix" it is just a patch on top of a bad base.

    • And what happens when everybody is using the same algorithm and it tells them "go left to avoid jam" and everybody flocks in the same way? it seems a centralized monitoring would be more useful in this sense. But a lot of people don't like to be centrally monitored...
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        If everyone were using the same algorithm, it would likely compensate by sending you left with e.g. 70% chance and right with 30% chance, depending on the relative capacities of those routes. Of course there wouldn't be any guarantee that the drivers would listen to the recommendation but if too many people clogged up one route that information would soon filter back into the system.
      • by charlesnw (843045)
        If your in Los Angeles traffic and traffic signals are monitored by http://trafficinfo.lacity.org/html/atsac_1.html [lacity.org]
    • by stewbacca (1033764) on Friday January 09, 2009 @06:38PM (#26393673)

      Most of the trouble I've seen, and most of the frustration I encounter, is from badly-timed traffic lights.

      The most I've seen is from the overwhelming number of dumbasses on the road. A traffic light engineer is totally limited by the absolute inability of the moron up front to step on the pedal on the right when the light turns green, then the guy after him, then the guy after him. Get off your damned phone and GO already.

      • by EggyToast (858951) on Friday January 09, 2009 @06:52PM (#26393845) Homepage
        Morons are a problem, of course, but even they can be alleviated with better light planning. If the lights are short, people aren't going to figure "well, I've got 2 minutes to kill, might as well pull out the phone." They know the lights going to change and they won't be able to pull it out of their pocket in time.

        In my city, we've got a couple streets where you can hit all greens, saving yourself about 5 minutes for the entire stretch, if you speed about 7-9 mph. You get half yellows and the rest are green. So anyone who tries it thinks "shit, this really is the best way to drive down this stretch," which just leads to a different kind of moron. Yet, if the lights were set up the *other* direction, traffic could be regulated so that there was no advantage to going over the speed limit -- you'd simply be approaching a red light anyway, and someone going exactly 25 or 35 would hit the light right after it changes. The only people slowed would be speeders.

        There's a lot that cities can do to alleviate traffic problems, but it's not "popular" or particularly showy, so almost none of them do. Fiddling with traffic lights doesn't win elections.

        • by Darkk (1296127)

          Alot of this will be moot point when majority of the cars can drive themselves according to best possible route.

          The technology is getting there so maybe we'll see this happen in 10 years from now.

          Meanwhile, we just have to put up with the morons on the road.

          • Alot of this will be moot point when majority of the cars can drive themselves according to best possible route.

            The technology is getting there so maybe we'll see this happen in 10 years from now.

            Meanwhile, we just have to put up with the morons on the road.

            The 1980s called. They want their comment back.

        • That works for one-way traffic. But when you time the lights so that one side can't speed, what happens to the other side?

          In short, it's really a messy optimization problem. Good luck.

        • by warsql (878659)
          I know a stretch like that, only it is setup for going the 35 mph speed limit. Problem is, as I drive along at 35, the morons around me get impatient and pull in front, racing to the red light. Now when the light turns green, all these morons need to get going again, and I have to slow down. Rinse and repeat, its not long before I miss the light.

          Having it setup for 7-9 mph over the limit (or perhaps only 5) would likely work out better.

        • by Ihmhi (1206036)

          Conversely, they might just go even faster to try and beat the shorter lights.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by YrWrstNtmr (564987)
        A traffic light engineer is totally limited by the absolute inability of the moron up front to step on the pedal on the right when the light turns green,

        And people have learned to not go immediately when the light turns green, because some asshat is still running the red light on the cross street.
        • In 99.9% of the cases people have learned to not go because they can't find the "S" key on their texting device. Besides, in Europe, their Red lights flash yellow before turning green to let you know you are about to go, and people still manage to go when it turns green without getting killed by people running red lights, so your argument doesn't make any sense.
          • by kdemetter (965669)

            Actually , i see just the opposite : people go when the light is still red , but is already red for the cars.

      • by thesolo (131008) *
        If I had mod points right now, I'd mod you up immediately for this.

        Nothing pisses me off more than sitting in a turn lane behind some jackass on their phone. The light goes green, they don't move, everyone starts honking, and by the time the aforementioned jackass realizes what's going on, half of the light time has expired and only 3 vehicles make it through the intersection before the light changes.

        There also seems to be a direct correlation between the shortness of the turn light/the length of tim
    • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Friday January 09, 2009 @06:40PM (#26393689)

      As a civil engineering student, I took a course that (among other things) taught me how to design traffic signal timing. I learned two surprising things:

      1. how hard it is to time the lights to give all traffic movements an acceptable level of service (especially if you can't add new lanes), and
      2. how poorly designed some of the intersections around here are.

      I think the root problem is that good transportation engineers are few and far in between (probably because a lot of people who went into transportation did so because structural engineering was too hard).

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by EggyToast (858951)
        Agreed. I was in San Francisco over the summer, and noticed that the majority of the lights were very short. I was there as a pedestrian, not a driver, but it seemed that all of the drivers were cool with the short lights. After being there a few days, it made sense -- if you miss a light, it's not a big deal because it'll be green again in about 15 seconds.

        As a side effect, all of the pedestrians went to the corners to cross, because it was easier to wait a short time to get a light compared to waitin

        • by virtue3 (888450)

          Actually the best part is they usually give you a few "waves" down the major cross town streets, like fulton + geary. Just floor it a lil bit over the speed limit and you can ride the lights for a while... provided there's no traffic!

          SF is definitely a pedestrian city however. And they tend to want to slow down the motorists more than anything else.

          And competing with bicycle space has become some what of an issue.

          • by snowraver1 (1052510) on Friday January 09, 2009 @08:15PM (#26394607)
            Just floor it a lil bit

            Funny you say that. There was an earlier comment earlier that also said a similar thing. I live in Calgary, AB, and downtown along 4th ave the lights are all synched for about 10 blocks or so, but only if you speed. The limit is 50, but you have to go about 60 or you start hitting yellows.

            Why is this? Can there really be that many Traffic Controllers that screwed up on the calculation? Is it so that police can sit on a corner at night and catch speeders? I don't get it...
            • by j-cloth (862412)
              Toronto: if you start at the bottom of Bayview Ave and maintain exactly 79kph, you can make it to the 401 without stopping (unless you get caught in the speed trap at Lawrence)
            • When the speed limit is 50, they do indeed design the road for 60. However, I would think that 60 would be the speed you'd go to just barely not hit the preceding red light, not to avoid the following yellow.

              Perhaps the lights are actually timed for the opposite direction, and it's just a coincidence that the frequency sort-of works out for your direction?

            • by Hucko (998827)

              Rockhampton, Australia: The engineers have deliberately set up the lights so you stop at least at every other light. You have to do 30+ kph to get greens and you will still hit the fourth or fifth light --- all the way across town (population 80k so around 15- 25 minutes driving). In the end you don't get anywhere any faster.

              I'm a taxi driver, so I've tried everything. The only solution is to wait. Yes, I realise that you are talking about populations of around the millions, but we just don't have

            • by Pellanor (1014383)
              Naw, it's just that they know everybody in Calgary does 10 over anyway, and plan their speed limits / light timing accordingly.
          • by Darkk (1296127)

            I do live near SF and ever so often I would take the BART there so wouldn't have to deal with the parking issues.

            The previous poster is correct about the short light timing and I hadn't thought of it until now. The traffic flow in the city is actually pretty smooth with little traffic jams. Kinda like a short stop and go but it's continuous and people are actually very courteous and I do respect the pedestrians's right of way (despite the fact it is California law).

            Pretty cool to actually start walking c

      • If you want to see a horrible intersection/interchange, and you're ever in L.A., check out the Mulholland/Valley Circle on/off ramps to the 101 in Woodland Hills.

        Granted, they had almost no real estate to work with, since of the four "corners", one was the Motion Picture Hospital (in LA, you don't mess with Spielberg), one was Hidden Hills (*cough* rich people *cough*), and one was a shopping center. So they had to improvise.... badly

      • by jrumney (197329)
        Timing traffic lights is indeed difficult. Often attempts to fix problems just end up causing an even worse problem elsewhere. When the Chiswick roundabout in West London had its lights changed from carefully designed fixed cycle lights to "intelligent" lights that adapted to traffic flows, they ended up causing tailbacks on both the A4 Eastbound and North Circular Southbound, because when traffic got heavy, the sensors detected no flow and gave both major roads short green cycles. There were also situation
    • by operagost (62405)
      None of this will happen because large cities now live off of red light camera ticket revenues. No one is interested in safety, or else they wouldn't purposely make yellow lights so short.
    • by joelpt (21056)

      I have wondered for some time why nobody is implementing an "intelligent" traffic-light-timing system. Think Google for traffic light timing.

      Where I live, all of the major traffic lights have cameras attached (to automate sending of traffic tickets to red-light runners). It seems to me that these cameras could be used to analyze the routes that are being taken by vehicles and intelligently optimize the light timing based on this.

      For example, let's assume that tracking vehicles by license plate number in thi

  • by Cyberax (705495) on Friday January 09, 2009 @06:25PM (#26393539)

    Words "network collision" are going to take a whole new meaning :)

  • by djupedal (584558) on Friday January 09, 2009 @06:27PM (#26393557)
    Put the damn money into comprehensive public transportation!!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      As many times as it takes to figure out slashdot is the wrong place to say it. You need to bug the people in charge of the money.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mollymoo (202721)

        As many times as it takes to figure out slashdot is the wrong place to say it. You need to bug the people in charge of the money.

        The people in charge of the money are elected officials, who are elected by (among others) the people on Slashdot. One person bugging the people in charge of the money won't do much good, you need lots of people to do the bugging for anything to happen. The way you get lots of people is by raising awareness of the issue with the public by doing things like posting on Slashdot and talking to your friends (who talk to their friends...). Discussing issues is public is how you get public support, which is how y

    • by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Friday January 09, 2009 @06:48PM (#26393779) Homepage Journal

      Put the damn money into comprehensive public transportation!!

      But the auto companies -- you know, the ones who just asked for a big bailout and got some of it -- spent millions and millions of dollars convincing you, the unwitting public, that public transportation is a bad -- a waste of government resources!

      And now you know why there's no good public transportation in most big U.S. cities, save a few.

      Full disclosure: I have -- in the past -- worked for two of the Detroit Three automakers.

      • spent millions and millions of dollars convincing you, the unwitting public, that public transportation is a bad -- a waste of government resources!

        I spent years riding public transportation. And you know what?

        GM didn't need to spend a dime to convince me that they suck.

        • They suck precisely because they spent money lobbying against public transportation.

          But, try going to Toronto, which has a very good public transportation system. Or even Washington, D.C., which has an excellent subway system.

          • Toronto? Good Transportation System? Sorry but I must disagree. I'll assume that you haven't sardined yourself onto a TTC rush hour bus lately. These days, I call it "The Bitter Way".
            What good transportation system runs out of monthly passes in the first week of the month? [www.cbc.ca]
            • At least you HAVE mass transit. Ottawa still doesn't after a month of striking, and since the union rejected the latest offer from the city, there's no end in sight. It's estimated that there are 30% more cars on the road in the city since the strike started. I had to buy a car just so I could keep getting to work, and I will NOT be going back to mass transit.
        • by djupedal (584558)
          > GM didn't need to spend a dime to convince me that they suck.

          GM spents tons of money a century ago, buying politicians and getting rid of public transportation so that they could sell buses...think about it.
          • by rusl (1255318)
            They also spend it now. Yyou can honestly say there is no specific advert that "did it" for you - but that doesn't mean the Billions they have spent ("Cars" are the 2nd biggest advertising catagory after "Government") convincing you and your peers have had no effect. In fact if you had the cultural imagination to think objectively about transport you would notice that Cars Suck even more. (setting aside ecology, social malfeasance, and health issues: cars cost consumers an arm and a leg and are often slower
            • > cars ...[are] always slower and more fragile than pedestrian cycling transport for the shortest most common trips that people take

              Your mileage may vary. Cycling to the corner store depends on you being able to ride a bike. And there are a lot of reasons you might not be able to ride a bike, but could drive a car. Physical fitness (including age) for one. Distance to the 'corner store' for another. Amount of groceries you pick up for a third.

              I bike to work. The store is 'only' a mile away. But I

            • I like to think that I am pretty objective, and you have presented one side of the argument. I agree with you and I'd like less noise, danger (when walking just around the block) and pollution, but cars are *extremely convenient.*

              Anywhere outside of the dense city, it is the quickest, cheapest (on a marginal cost in most cases, anyway) way to get anyplace. All major cities that I've lived in have smelly, gross transportation systems (Boston, NYC) as opposed to a nice, comfortable, climate-controlled vehic

            • by operagost (62405)

              always slower and more fragile than pedestrian cycling transport for the shortest most common trips that people take - ie going to the corner store)

              Works great, as long as you are only going to the store for milk and a "squishy"-- because that's all that will fit in a bicycle basket.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Uh, this will likely lead to as comprehensive public transportation as you can get. There have been a number of writeups about this, not the least of which was mentioned on /. in this article [slashdot.org].

      This routing information being handed to drivers who manually take action is the first step into complete and total automation. With automation, transportation costs will plummet and it's not entirely impossible to envision adequate transportation being listed as a "human right" along side adequate shelter and fo
      • by rusl (1255318)
        Thanks for giving me a use for the LeetKey firefox plugin for the very first time on your signature! I've had this installed for about 3 months and I've finally now had a chance to use it!
        • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

          by pintpusher (854001)

          thank you for inspiring me to finally translate that sig. I've looked at it for years thinking I really should translate it, but haven't bothered.

          Now that you've taken the cheap way out and used a damn plugin to do the grunt work, I've gone and done it the right way.

          and 01111001 01100101 01110011 00101100 00100000 01111001 01100101 01110011 00100000 01001001 00100000 01100001 01101101 00101110

          (cross fingers it's right, 'cause I'll hear no end of crap if it's not...)

    • +1. Public transport is orders of magnitude cleaner and less wasteful than cars.

      But as for P2P applications, what we could use is a cool carpooling network. Switch on your nav system, tell it where you want to go and it will tell you to where and when someone else is going there - or vice versa.

    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by k1e0x (1040314)

      [quote]Put the damn money into comprehensive public transportation!![/quote]

      First off.. its my money, I should be able to do with it what I want. Secondly.. why does government even take care of roads at all? Thirdly.. I don't even take the bus, why should I pay for it?

      • by extrasolar (28341)

        First off.. its my money, I should be able to do with it what I want.

        Not entirely. It's a product of an economy that you've had a marginal affect on.

        Secondly.. why does government even take care of roads at all?

        Not profitable.

        Thirdly.. I don't even take the bus, why should I pay for it?

        Because your vehicle out on the roads is part of the reason people choose to take the bus.

        • by k1e0x (1040314)

          First off.. its my money, I should be able to do with it what I want.

          Not entirely. It's a product of an economy that you've had a marginal affect on.

          Your crazy. My money is the result of me contracting out my labor to others.

          Secondly.. why does government even take care of roads at all?

          Not profitable.

          You don't think people pay to drive on roads? They do every time they fill up.

          Thirdly.. I don't even take the bus, why should I pay for it?

          Because your vehicle out on the roads is part of the reason people choose to take the bus.

          Key word *choice*. Others lack of bathing is the reason I chose to drive. Should I be forced to buy them showers? Yes, certain factors cause us to make voluntary economic choices, that's good.. the problems start occurring when opinionated bastards like yourself force others to pay for things you like at gun point all because you make a certain choice and

          • by extrasolar (28341)

            Your crazy. My money is the result of me contracting out my labor to others.

            Where do you think they got *their* money from?

            You don't think people pay to drive on roads? They do every time they fill up.

            They are paying for gas, not roads. Gas stations don't use that money to pay for the road system.

            Key word *choice*. Others lack of bathing is the reason I chose to drive. Should I be forced to buy them showers? Yes, certain factors cause us to make voluntary economic choices, that's good.. the problems start occurring when opinionated bastards like yourself force others to pay for things you like at gun point all because you make a certain choice and they don't. You like the bus then YOU pay for it and stop having your tax goons take my money to do it, forcing others to pay for something you like is barbaric and wrong.

            Wow, now I'm an opinionated bastard. Rid yourself of your overzealous ideology and then you might be able to look at things a bit more deeply.

            • by k1e0x (1040314)

              Your crazy. My money is the result of me contracting out my labor to others.

              Where do you think they got *their* money from?

              So what? *They* whomever they are, be it my customers, or an employer, got it from their labor or some other source of exchange of wealth or service they provide.

              You don't think people pay to drive on roads? They do every time they fill up.

              They are paying for gas, not roads. Gas stations don't use that money to pay for the road system.

              Gas taxes. You forgot about the bloody gas taxes. I believe it's a relatively fair way to tax. You pay a tax on the gas you use that is spent to upkeep the road system. (you should not pay a tax on lawnmower gas). Now.. I would prefer a private system with no gas taxes but perhaps another way of providing for upkeep but.. if this is the system we *

      • Cars give us a tremendous blindness to the necessity of collective action. We are all just atoms driving cars and the problem is the Others who are Traffic and get in My way.

        You are correct in pointing out that the biggest subsidy from those who don't drive to those that do is the Grid - the road network (I always think it is funny how people move out to the Country to get Back to the Land and buy and SUV to do it) but manufacturing systems are heavily subsidised as well (ecologically)

        But how could we get a

        • by k1e0x (1040314)

          Who is "we"? You use a lot of collectivist terms, I get around just fine and feel safe when I do so.

          Yes, there is such a thing as private roads. and not just race tracks and parking lots. Disney and Microsoft (and probbly many others) have huge areas and complex where they have private roads.

          Well you can say.. that works for things like that but not for cities right? Wrong. When I was a kid my grandparents lived in a rural area that had private roads. They use to pay a guy to go around and fill in pot holes

      • [quote]Put the damn money into comprehensive public transportation!![/quote]

        First off.. its my money, I should be able to do with it what I want. Secondly.. why does government even take care of roads at all? Thirdly.. I don't even take the bus, why should I pay for it?

        Thats like saying, I don't go to school any more, so why should I pay for it?, just because you don't, doesn't mean that nobdy else does

        • by k1e0x (1040314)

          Good point! Why should I pay for schools? I have no children. You wouldn't pay for telephone service if you did not own a telephone, right? I think it is perfectly fair for someone to opt-out of a government "service" they do not use. It is fair to pay for what you use. It is not fair to pay for something you will never use.

          Somehow I think you disagree.. now before you start spouting off about "society" and other collectivist terms like the last guy, ask yourself this:

          If garbage service *was* optional in yo

          • Good point! Why should I pay for schools? I have no children.

            But you did to school at one time correct?

            You wouldn't pay for telephone service if you did not own a telephone, right? I think it is perfectly fair for someone to opt-out of a government "service" they do not use. It is fair to pay for what you use. It is not fair to pay for something you will never use.

            I guess you will never use emergency services either then so there is no point in you paying for it.

            Somehow I think you disagree.. now before you start spouting off about "society" and other collectivist terms like the last guy, ask yourself this:

            If garbage service *was* optional in your area and provided by the city, but also by a private contractor that you preferred and used, would you voluntarily help your well off neighbor pay for his city garbage collection service? If you would, how much would you voluntarily pay him, what level of burden would you take on? If you wouldn't voluntarily do it, then why do you think it is it ok to make it law and force someone to?

            I think I would rather spend money on the public transportation then some war that was only started for oil and is draining more tax dollars then the public transportation system would in 100 years

            • by k1e0x (1040314)

              Good point! Why should I pay for schools? I have no children.

              But you did to school at one time correct?

              I went to private, public, and home school. My times in the public schools were some of the worst in my life. I would NEVER send a kid to one of them.

              You wouldn't pay for telephone service if you did not own a telephone, right? I think it is perfectly fair for someone to opt-out of a government "service" they do not use. It is fair to pay for what you use. It is not fair to pay for something you will never use.

              I guess you will never use emergency services either then so there is no point in you paying for it.

              That depends on the service they are offering. Police? no.. I would not pay for them, I don't call them either.. they usually just make situations worse. I would pay for "peace officers", but not the current batch of thugs fresh out of Iraq. They might arrest me for a disorderly lawn. (like this 70 year old grandma! http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=1444771 [ksl.com]

            • by k1e0x (1040314)

              BTW One of my friends did make a fire call not too long ago.. It wasn't a house fire or anything just a small fire on her property.

              The Fire Department and the police showed up. The fire department immediately starting putting out the fire. The police.. the first thing the police said to her is "Who could have done this to you?" - my friend was taken aback by that and said.. what do you mean? You see ... the police were trying to put someone in jail for arson before they even got to the fire.. the fire was p

    • by DittoBox (978894)

      Well, it's more an urban planning issue really. Where I live we have a "suburban sprawl" problem. I live in an area that has lots of light industrial (read: farms), residential and then the commercial that supports it. For all intents and purposes our entire county is an extended suburban area of a large(ish) city (Portland, OR). We have some self-supporting industry but we still don't produce enough to cover ourselves.

      Currently the Clark County (WA) public transit bus system loses a metric shit ton of mon

      • I remember commuting from Battle Ground to Tigard. I know what you're talking about.

        But that was 10+ years ago. C-tran offers even less routes out to Battle Ground, and the area has more population. On the plus side, the buses I took were most often full, being specifically commuter runs.

      • I don't understand why that has to result in a loss of money. Is it the cost of the bus driver or the cost of the gas and maintenance?

        If it's the latter then buses should be replaced by electric vans during periods of time during which usage is low.

        Actually, you could get rid of the driver too if you could automate the buses/vans. Surely the task of automating a vehicle is much easier when the route is fixed like it is with buses.

        If someone does all this, please make sure to spend a little of the resulting
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      No.

      Public transportation will never be as fast as private. As it is now, public transportation is not even as clean (people tend not to take care of things that don't belong to them) or fuel-efficient (how much fuel does it take to run that huge bus carrying 0 to 5 people along its route?) as private. Sure, huge sums of money could fix these problems, but no amount of money will make it as fast as going directly from point A to point B.

      (Posting anonymously to avoid karma death at the hands of the "green" cr

      • by tehcyder (746570)

        (Posting anonymously to avoid karma death at the hands of the "green" crowd)

        Well, as recompense you'd be popular with the "everything is a car analogy" crowd.

  • ... that senior citizens cause bottlenecks on the internet just like in cars! :-)

    Lord knows my grandma on the internet is a disaster.
    • ... that senior citizens cause bottlenecks on the internet just like in cars! :-)

      Lord knows my grandma on the internet is a disaster.

      We know they do. Wheelchairs don't do well in tubes. There are always rescue crews trying to winch them out.

  • by j1mmy (43634) on Friday January 09, 2009 @06:33PM (#26393629) Journal

    research on this sort of thing has been going on for almost two decades now. the increasing ubiquity of in-car nav systems, cellphones with gps, and other positioning and communications technologies helps to overcome the biggest hurdle: critical mass. this sort of system isn't useful if only a handful of cars have it.

    the other, and more difficult, part of this work is using this data in a way that can provide predictive travel information to drivers before that data becomes outdated. it's one thing to know about congestion on a road 10 minutes from your current location. it's better to know whether it's still going to be congested when you get there. models to do this sort of thing exist, but aren't (yet) fast or reliable enough to be used in real time.

    in urban areas, there's been an increasing push for taxis to be outfitted with gps transponders both as a political move, but also as a research tool and eventual mechanism for supporting real-time traffic data collection. taxis in major cities cover all the big and little streets, all over the place, all the time. they're perfect for fitting into a regional live traffic data collection system.

  • The increasing tendency to use this type of communication to support critical infrastructure is an open invitation to chaos and disaster induced by malicious hacking.

    Consider for a moment all the past reports of external hacking on U.S. infrastructure and the chaos they created. Now imagine what would happen were this to be hacked after widespread adoption.

    You all very well know that from the moment of its inception there will be concerted efforts to do just that.

    No thanks.

    Leave out the networking with priv

    • by Emb3rz (1210286)

      <sincerequestion>What critical infrastructure could you fashion from a few dozen/hundred moving wifi nodes?</sincerequestion>

      It doesn't seem like this is something that would leave a lot of potential for abuse, save for tricking someone into being late for work by routing them into a heavily trafficked area.

      • by genoese (415161) *

        The scenario I saw play out is admittedly far-fetched but as a Slashdot reader, I've come upon shocking articles regarding our infrastructure here in the US being targeted by hackers from inside Russia and China. Here's one such example:

        http://technology.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/tech_and_web/the_web/article2409865.ece

        Now let's do a bit of extrapolation:
        1. widespread adoption by NYC & LA -c class municipalities
        2. traffic signal control governed by this 'network'
        3. Understanding of the architecture gets

  • by sabt-pestnu (967671) on Friday January 09, 2009 @06:48PM (#26393781)

    Getting sued by the Motor Vehicle Association of America for using P2P traffic control software and downloading copyrighted road blocks!

  • ...old people lag bad! Someone needs to upgrade them or scan them for spyware or something hehehe.
    • Old people are usually only a small problem - they're fairly easy to route around because they are generally following the rules and doing so slowly, without tailgating giving room for others to maneuver - i.e. they remain predictable. Young people who are ignoring rules such as pass-in-the-proper-lane-and-then-get-out-of-the-way, don't signal, race up behind others to squeeze into a lane, or like I saw tonight, signal to pas on the incorrect-side (50% good) and then yank it the other direction nearly caus
  • Automation is one thing, driver education is another.

    Defensive driver courses are a much better target for the money, as they benefit the people driving directly. Even teenagers can take them. Plus, you get 10% off of your car insurance. AAA handles them all over the place.

  • A lot of the unnecessary traffic delays at poorly regulated traffic lights could be completely circumvented by getting rid of lights and settings up roundabouts. Even through traffic slows down, it does not stop, and it automatically regulates itself.

    Roundabout takes very little time to get used to, and it presents a consistent interface to drivers. First time I saw them in Italy many years ago during a business trip, I instantly fell in love with them. Since then I've seen them all over Europe. I think mos

  • Not having RTFA, I think that the biggest problem is, unless all you're doing is adding entrance ramp traffic lights, is the drivers. If they have to obey some sort of changing speed limit sign or something just as "voluntary," they're going to ignore it. Where I commute, as soon as people get on the highway, they stomp on it even though they know that in a mile and a half they're going to be going 5 mph.

    But at least they'll be ahead of that Prius back there. Dang liberals!

    DT

  • For several years now I've wondered if traffic planners ever talk to physicists, specifically with regard to fluid dynamics. As a non-physicist, natch -- though I did date a nice lady once who was a traffic planner in a large city -- it seems to me that this could produce some good ideas, perhaps a traffic version of PARC. Internet researchers are equally, if not more, qualified to pipe up here and I'm interested to see what they come up with.

  • and then transfer the pieces to your destination.

  • Cars cannot use P2P technology because the principle of driving a private automobile is exlusion and luxury. If you start sharing (P2P) then you get the bus or a train - you start getting intelligence - the economy would collapse if we started not requiring a 2 tonne cage to move a 150lb load.
  • Isn't that the communications network for the Autobots? This whole traffic management plan is a Decepticon plot I tell you! It must be destroyed!

  • it will be only a matter of time before uncareful drivers will step into their cars and hear a message: "Driving is wrong!".
  • If ever a story on /. qualifies for a car analogy, this one should. Sadly, I can think of none. RATS!

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