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Transportation Government

Could Technology Companies Solve Traffic Congestion? (bloomberg.com) 151

As the Indian city of Bangalore "grapples with inadequate roads, unprecedented growth and overpopulation," can technology companies find a solution? randomErr writes: Tech giants and startups are turning their attention to a common enemy: the Indian city's infernal traffic congestion. Commutes that can take hours have inspired Gridlock Hackathon for technology workers to find solutions to the snarled roads that cost the economy billions of dollars. While the prize totals a mere $5,500, it's attracting teams from global giants Microsoft Corp., Google and Amazon.com. Inc. to local startups including Ola.
Bloomberg reports that the ideas "range from using artificial intelligence and big data on traffic flows to true moonshots, such as flying cars... Other entries suggested including Internet of Things-powered road dividers that change orientation to handle changing situations. There is also a proposal for a reporting system that tracks vehicles that don't conform to the road rules..." And one hackathon official says a team "suggested building smart roads underneath the city and another has sent in detailed drawings of flying cars." Any more bright ideas -- and more importantly, do any of these solutions really have a chance of succeeding?
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Could Technology Companies Solve Traffic Congestion?

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  • Revolutionary idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gunfighter ( 1944 ) on Monday July 10, 2017 @12:39AM (#54776491) Homepage

    My entry:

    Reward companies (and people) who work from home with incentives to keep them off the road.

    Can I have my $5k now?

    • Out of worker tucker Gunfighter here your $5K for idea to replace you with an auto drive truck. That $5K put you over the medicare income limit to bad next time vote better.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      The only problem with working from home is that for some people it's hard when they have a small house/flat and a family. Not everyone can have a dedicated space with a closed door, unfortunately.

      A simple way to solve this would be to have shared office space for rent outside the city. Just a bunch of small offices that people can work remotely from. Fast internet, basic amenities and well away from any traffic congestion. My only concern is that it would create a disincentive to employ people without home

      • by Anonymous Coward

        A simple way to solve this would be to have shared office space for rent outside the city. Just a bunch of small offices that people can work remotely from. Fast internet, basic amenities and well away from any traffic congestion. My only concern is that it would create a disincentive to employ people without home offices, because the company would have to rent office space for them.

        Companies could then leverage economies of scale and put lots of their telecommuting workers, including managers in the same office space. They might even consider buying a building to house all their work at home employees utilizing this shared office space.

    • My entry:

      Reward companies (and people) who work from home with incentives to keep them off the road.

      Can I have my $5k now?

      Yeah, because all jobs can be done remotely #rollseyes.

    • How does someone who cleans toilets work from home?

      India is people rich. They have a culture of paying people to do jobs that other countries buy machines to handle for the most part. There are exceptions, but ....
      dishwasher is a person.
      clothes washer is a person.
      Lunch delivery is a cartel of people with neighborhood bosses in control - sorta like the NYC taxi companies.

      Create variable cost travel options - higher during peaks, lower or free off-peak. That would apply to trains, subways, taxis, and toll r

      • Some answers here [slashdot.org].

        How does someone who cleans toilets work from home? It depends. Do they have to go to the office first every morning and then out to customer sites? If so, eliminate the trip to the office. My point was to eliminate travel when it is not necessary for tasks that can be accomplished remotely, not to just "have everyone work from home from now on."

        As for the "surge pricing" (I'll borrow a term from Uber here), I think that would be an interesting approach. The corruption problem would certai

    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      Also, less stress, more happiness, more non-work time, etc. :)

  • Heinlein gets it right again.

  • Yes, they could have their employees work from home. Can I have my $5,500 now?
  • give roads real speed limits and not this 55 on roads that can handle 70-80. also the 45 work zones need to go (on high speed roads with walls in place) even more so when no one is working.

    • by godrik ( 1287354 )

      I've never been to Bangalore. But I have been to other places in India. And I don't think I have seen a car reach 55 mph. The average speed seems closer to 15 with peaks at 40 due to a massive number of cars on a complete under-scaled under-maintained road infrastructures.

      Congestion problems in India and in the US are probably very different problems. I heard stories in Bangalore of a congested one way street progressively change way during the day when there is an opposite flow of cars pushing their way th

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I've never been to Bangalore.

        I couldn't even point to it on a map. But as an American, I know everything about it anyway.
        --
        AK Marc

    • by hackel ( 10452 )

      Of course! Why didn't they think of that? The REAL cause of congestion is everything that happens to annoy Joe Dragon in his personal commute! Brilliant!

  • by DrLlama ( 213075 ) on Monday July 10, 2017 @01:07AM (#54776565) Homepage

    I lived in Bangalore for six months.

    Traffic there is like nothing I've ever seen before in my life. Lane markers... they're just suggestions. Speed limits? What's that? Traffic lights, well, maybe, if there's a cop handy.

    What's amazing to me is how the congestion isn't as bad as it could be, because traffic in Bangalore, and well India as a whole, is compressible. When a traffic light turns red, cars and auto-rickshaws and especially motorbikes, move in to fill the space as tightly as they can. Then when the light changes, everyone moves out and traffic flows. What that means is that while North American traffic behaves a lot like a liquid, my observation in Bangalore was that traffic behaved much more like a gas.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      On the plus side it's easier to anticipate what the traffic will do if you're trying to cross the road. If you get in the way they will simply continue and run you down.

    • by thomn8r ( 635504 )
      What that means is that while North American traffic behaves a lot like a non-newtonian fluid

      FTFY

  • Granted I only saw a very limited part of Bangalore, which I enjoyed because everyone was so nice, a technological solution seems impossible. You have multiple motorcycles in one lane, and everyone ignores the traffic lights, if there are any. Everyone just turns at the same time. My friend who was driving explained they have more accidents when they have traffic lights.

  • by Todd Knarr ( 15451 ) on Monday July 10, 2017 @01:11AM (#54776575) Homepage

    Figuring out how to solve traffic congestion, that's the easy part. There's lots of ways, mostly in two categories: reducing the volume of traffic needed to move a given number of people, and optimizing the flow of traffic.

    The hard part is getting people to actually let the solutions do their job. Everyone wants better traffic flow, but they don't want to change their own driving patterns to ones that optimize traffic flow (especially if it means giving up even a second's advantage over anyone else).

    • I've seen third world traffic firsthand and the people are prone to cause gridlock, it is in their genes. I'm going to enter this intersection even if it is backed up and I can't cross it. Fix that and traffic flow improves by 50%

    • by reg ( 5428 )

      While doing my masters in transportation engineering, I did a class in traffic. One of the very first proofs that you do is a fairly simplistic model of traffic flow, but just complicated enough to show that for most traffic engineering problems the condition for finding a globally (network) optimal solution is that every driver can improve their own travel time. So basically it is not "if" it means giving up an advantage - giving up an advantage is how you know it will help. If you look at all traffic co

  • Self-driving cars with smart traffic light are the most sensible solution to the problem. The technology is almost there, but it will take at least 10 years before it is widespread enough to be of any use. In the meantime, favor telecommuting,ride-sharing as much as possible. Flying cars may be the futuristic, hyped solution, but they are unfeasible, dangerous, and impractical. -- Do not ever use slashdot deals. Unless you want to be ripped off.
  • by swell ( 195815 ) <jabberwock.poetic@com> on Monday July 10, 2017 @01:22AM (#54776593)

    "grapples with inadequate roads, unprecedented growth and overpopulation,"
    And there is more: sewage in the streets, hunger, sickness, pollution of every kind...

    There is only ONE problem really. There is only one solution. Family planning. All of those little 'problems' are simply symptoms of the ONE problem. Without family planning, every one of those symptoms will get worse.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      There is only ONE problem really. There is only one solution. Family planning.

      Correct, and education for women is the best way to solve that. I've never given into a man by letting myself be talked into doing something I don't want to do. All of my Indian friends that are women, say they don't have a choice in the matter. They need to be educated so they feel strong enough to not agreeing to doing what we do not want to do.

    • by afxgrin ( 208686 )

      Designated Shitting Streets.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      This is actually a myth: http://data.worldbank.org/indi... [worldbank.org]

      The global fertility rate is nearing zero growth. The world population is still rising because the people already born are living longer so there are more generations alive today than ever before, but it is levelling off.

      The only way to do what you suggest would be to actually create a decline in population, which has other extremely negative consequences for the economy and society.

      Fortunately all we really need to do is plan better. Get rid of 5 ye

      • by swell ( 195815 )

        "We have enough resources, we just don't allocate them well."

        Who is this 'we' you're talking about, white man? I take it you've never been to India. And you have the nerve to quote World Bank propaganda? The same World Bank that has bankrupted most third world countries?

        The current government of India is a mess, a nuclear threat and an anti Muslim sword rattler. Whatever 'we' you might imagine does not exist- they are not part of any worldwide consensus.

  • The thing about traffic congestion in large cities is that it increases the opportunity cost of driving (which is essentially proportional to the delays caused by the congestion). When the opportunity cost exceeds some threshold, people will stop driving and use alternatives like public transport, walking, etc., or just change their plans. That threshold varies across the population. So what happens if you reduce the overall congestion? The opportunity cost goes down so some number of people who would have

    • by afxgrin ( 208686 )

      They should probably just resort to using a permit system to limit the average total number vehicles in the most congested parts of the city, then use the relieved roads to quickly install LRTs.

    • This makes the cost of congestion payable by those causing it, deterring their behaviour. The medium tech solution is to require additional payments to enter specific areas, enforced by cameras. The high tech solution is to have cars fitted with a transponder that charges for the distance you move through the congested area.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 10, 2017 @01:49AM (#54776647)

    until you can figure out how to fix india's drivers [youtube.com]

    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      until you can figure out how to fix india's drivers [youtube.com]

      This.

      I'm of the firm belief that every traffic jam begins with one arsehole who refuses to follow the rules (whether these rules be the Highway code, courtesy or common sense).

      Here in the UK, we're fairly intolerant of bad drivers. Even though, we still have people who think that the rules don't apply to them, Middle Lane Morons, the 40 Everywhere crowd, lane hoggers and rolling roadblocks (usually in a retirement spec Honda Jizz or Pug 208) and of course cyclists. I often imagine that these traffic i

  • If they learn how to build floating roads. Or anti-gravity cars.
    Oh, you mean with pure software? No haha. Just build more roads, that's all you have to do.
  • by Skapare ( 16644 ) on Monday July 10, 2017 @02:11AM (#54776681) Homepage
    Let AI drive the cars. "self-driving" cars follow the road rules and cooperate better. Maybe tracking via WAZE can help in the interim.
  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Monday July 10, 2017 @03:01AM (#54776775)

    But the good people of Bangalore should perhaps Bang-a-bit-less.

  • Raze some buildings and install more/bigger roads.

    Yes, it's expensive. But it's a tiny price compared to having everyone waste millions of person-hours sitting on inadequate roads. Just multiply those person-hours by any plausible dollars-per-person-hour, and you have a figure for how much it's appropriate to spend fixing this problem.

    Seriously, how is this a difficult question?

  • You have to charge people for using the roads, that's all. (as if it's so simple) And it can take on variants like having fast toll lanes, dedicated bus lanes, pay per use/congestion zones, etc. But you have to make people feel the pain in $ for driving.

    Unfortunately, I am pretty sure Indian policy makers don't have the appetite or means to put in those kinds of measures against the tidal wave of protest that would erupt. They can't even keep cows off the road, how are they going to do anything tha
  • Tax cars so only the rich and reserved occupations get a work "car".
    Turn cars from aspirational working class imports to pure luxury items.
    Put most people into bus, streetcar or train networks very early each morning to get to work.
    As technology get better, move people around in shared self driving pods that an app requests.
    People sit in a revered seat and get taken to work, picking up people on the way while staying on the best routes given the pick up and destinations.
    In the short term try and time t
    • by BBCWatcher ( 900486 ) on Monday July 10, 2017 @05:56AM (#54777131)

      Singapore sets strict quotas on total vehicles, by type, using a simple auction system. So let's suppose the quota is capped at one million vehicles of all types. Private cars might represent 600,000 of that total. (These numbers are approximately correct for Singapore.) If you want to buy a car, you have to get a Certificate of Entitlement (CoE), good for 10 years. As a car comes off the road and is scrapped or exported, its CoE is returned to the public pool and auctioned. The highest bidders win. Currently (mid 2017) a CoE is fetching about US$35,000. That's not the car or anything that goes with it. It's merely the cost of a 10 year license to place a new car on the road. You also have to buy, register (with ample tax), insure, park, and fuel the car, and that costs money, too. You also must have an electronic toll device, and congested areas (primarily the central business district) have variable tolls to enter. If you get out of line the penalties are severe, and you cannot bribe your way out of such problems.

      Do those basic things (a strict overall cap on the vehicle population at an appropriate level, and variable electronic tolling for the areas most prone to congestion), and you have eliminated traffic problems. Public buses can then run on reliable schedules, road construction doesn't cause too much agony, and there's an excellent revenue source for both.

      This problem is well solved if people want it solved. Just copy Singapore.

      • by ThosLives ( 686517 ) on Monday July 10, 2017 @09:58AM (#54777919) Journal

        That's definitely a solution, but I would replace the highest-bidder-wins auction with a certifiably random selection. That way you don't have a systemic bias against the poor.

        • I would rather take and use Singapore's ideas than yours, at least they are a successful economy precisely because they don't follow your types of ideas. A system should be biased against those who cannot produce enough to pay for use of resources. This is a system voting with money for the best use of resources, the poor are not productive enough to be able to command more use of resources.

          • Wouldn't you want to bias it towards them, in order to facilitate their being more productive?

          • I know this is a really late reply... but there is a false assumption in your statement that inability to produce enough to pay for resources is due to an individual's activities and not systematic.

            While I agree that a simple random assignment of property rights is not efficient in some senses of efficiency, it does eliminate systemic wealth concentration effects (basically it trades off simplistic profit efficiency for equal opportunity). Consider if you have a fertile piece of land (say, 100 acres: small

      • by mjwx ( 966435 )

        This problem is well solved if people want it solved. Just copy Singapore.

        The ONLY reason artificially limiting cars works in Singapore is that Singapore has a world class public transport network. You can get almost anywhere on that island within 90 minutes. This system would not work almost anywhere else because nowhere else has the same standard of public transport. It wouldn't even work in London, despite the congestion charge, a lot of people still own cars and drive in London.

        Singapore is full of solutions that work on the small scale, but will never be viable on a large

      • by q4Fry ( 1322209 )

        This is very interesting, thanks! I'd mod you informative, but I wanted to point out a possible problem with rollout to Bangalore and the rest of the planet. Singapore is more or less universally space-constrained, but in places that aren't approximately 100% urban, there's a gradient of traffic density. If I register my car in the Deccan somewhere, do I pay the CoE auction? If not, do you prevent me from driving to the city? If so, how far into the city? What if I live in the outskirts, but commute the oth

    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      Put most people into bus, streetcar or train networks very early each morning to get to work.

      You misunderstand the definition of 'work' in most Indian cities. Sure, you can take their commuting cars away. But cars aren't a large part of the problem on city roads there. People will just find other means [indianmotorcycles.net]* of transporting themselves and their goods. And I don't think mass transit is going to work for that.

      *I don't think that was the sort of Indian motorcycle this web site had in mind.

      • India is right full of, comparatively speaking, efficient, public, mass-transportation. You should see their commuter rail infrastructure. Even really remote villages are often reliably serviced by both rail and bus.

  • that carry Tata Air Pod size cars. The buses never turn off the arterial that is their route. They let pods off at cross streets. At the farther from the city end of the route they swap batteries and move to the other lane. At the city end, a crane moves them to the other lane.
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Monday July 10, 2017 @06:00AM (#54777145) Journal
    Gases expand fill the available volume. Work expands to fill the available time. Traffic expands to fill available capacity.

    Tech companies would worsen the problem. They will make commute time more predictable and adjust the flow, divert in real time to reduce congestion. All this will lead to more effective road capacity. All the secondary roads that carry less traffic will be used as load balancers and fill up with traffic. All this will make people realize they can live even farther away from the city and supersize their McMansions. In the end there will be more vehicles on the road.

    Real solution is allow market to determine the cost of commute. A contested valuable resource, priced at below market levels, unresponsive to rising demand will always lead to wasteful usage. Water and road access are the most heavily underpriced government owned resource. Any private company would have raised the price of accessing the prime working areas, and raised the prices over time. Businesses would respond by moving out, spreading out, commuters would pay the true cost of access to downtown and business districts and consider rational alternatives.

    While taking advantage of free road access to business districts, the very same car commuters fight tooth and nail any subsidy to public transportation.

    • Any private company would have raised the price of accessing the prime working areas, and raised the prices over time

      And any company in those areas would move out. I know that's what you're going for, but that is only a benefit if you are a company with a stake in the roads alone. If you're a government which also has a stake in not having an empty ghost city while companies are driving taxes and business into other cities that is not the ideal outcome.

      Taxing the road use isn't the answer. City planning is.

      • So when government owns the resource it should not price it according to demand.

        So what if businesses spread out? So what if the city center does not have lots of businesses? Its tax base would be lower and the cost of city services also will be lower. Commute time for all the people will be less, and there will be less demand for highways.

        But local government is so heavily manipulated by the small companies completely depending on tax payer funds they will sell you non solutions like city-planning. City

        • by Anonymous Coward

          So when government owns the resource it should not price it according to demand.

          No, it should price it according to cost. Government isn't here to make a profit, nor do we want it to.

          So what if businesses spread out? So what if the city center does not have lots of businesses? Its tax base would be lower and the cost of city services also will be lower. Commute time for all the people will be less, and there will be less demand for highways.

          Sprawl would be even worse as businesses buy up land that would have been used for suburban residential development, pushing residential development even further. The demand for highways would be greater because goods and services would be more widely distributed, which necessitates more travel. Nothing is free.

          But local government is so heavily manipulated by the small companies completely depending on tax payer funds they will sell you non solutions like city-planning.

          You mean places with insane laws like not allowing an exploding fertilizer plant to be located n

          • by Ichijo ( 607641 )

            So when government owns the resource it should not price it according to demand.

            No, it should price it according to cost. Government isn't here to make a profit, nor do we want it to.

            Are you joking? Do you really want government to lose money on things people aren't willing to pay market rates for?

        • So what if businesses spread out?

          I didn't say spread out. I said move out. Why would you move your business out into the burbs when you could move it into another major city. You have to remember what draws businesses into the city in the first place: infrastructure.

          As I said before: City planning is the answer.

          So when government owns the resource it should not price it according to demand.

          Actually the government shouldn't price anything according to demand. They should build according to demand and charge through taxes. That's how infrastructure works. The user pays model fails miserably when talking about infrastruc

      • by Ichijo ( 607641 )

        Any private company would have raised the price of accessing the prime working areas, and raised the prices over time

        And any company in those areas would move out.

        Are you joking? Do you really think eliminating traffic congestion is worth nothing to businesses?

        • It's worth a lot to logistics businesses. But it's worth nothing to those who aren't impacted by congestion, such as nearly every major employer in a major city which happily has people applying for jobs despite those people knowing they'll spend 3 hours stuck in traffic every day.

          Businesses are not based on satisfaction, they don't have varying degrees of happiness. They are based on resource availability, and they either have resources or they don't.

    • by Kiuas ( 1084567 )

      Businesses would respond by moving out, spreading out, commuters would pay the true cost of access to downtown and business districts and consider rational alternatives.

      It's not quite as straightforward.

      'Spacing out' is expensive. The whole reasons businesses like cities and densely populated areas is that it makes the logistical chains easier to manage. Instead of having several smaller stores sprinkled around the suburbs you can have 1 or 2 larger stores in the centrum and save quite a lot on warehousing

      • by stdarg ( 456557 )

        a) you increase the overheads of the companies as they have to spend more on transportation, management, warehousing, etc to maintain their sales and customers, this brings prices of the good up

        That is highly dependent on the situation. For almost anything requiring warehousing, you save money by having it outside of the city. If you put a furniture store in a downtown area, it's almost certainly just for display models, and the furniture is delivered to the customer from a remote warehouse. Building the warehouse in a remote area saves far more money than the increased costs for transportation.

        b) you increase people's need to travel from one place to another, further increasing overall time spent on traveling as well as money spent on fuel

        The whole point of spacing out stores is to make them more easily accessible and cheaper. I don't know h

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Real solution is allow market to determine the cost of commute. A contested valuable resource, priced at below market levels, unresponsive to rising demand will always lead to wasteful usage. Water and road access are the most heavily underpriced government owned resource. Any private company would have raised the price of accessing the prime working areas, and raised the prices over time. Businesses would respond by moving out, spreading out, commuters would pay the true cost of access to downtown and business districts and consider rational alternatives.

      While taking advantage of free road access to business districts, the very same car commuters fight tooth and nail any subsidy to public transportation.

      in Scandinavia, there is a movement to base some portion of property taxes on how far you choose to live from your workplace

      use more, pay more

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Real solution is allow market to determine the cost of commute.

      This will work as long as the prices are set according to the actual wear and tear caused by the vehicle driving over them. A loaded semi causes as much wear and tear as 9,000 passenger cars, which means they should be paying 9,000 times as much per mile as the average passenger car. Motorcyles would pay almost nothing. There would also need to be a gradual phase in period for the businesses and people who made sound financial plans given the current fiscal situation. It is also imperative that all current

    • by Ichijo ( 607641 )

      To get rid of mosquitoes, you get rid of standing water, right? And to get rid of pigeons, you get rid of places to roost. So it stands to reason that getting rid of places to park would reduce automobile traffic. Yet cities do the exact opposite by forcing businesses and property owners to build more parking than the market really wants, and then we wonder why there's so much traffic. (Our legislators just aren't very bright...)

      So one alternative to pricing the roads according to demand is to reduce demand

    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      Real solution is allow market to determine the cost of commute.

      That is already the case. If I get a job next door and one that is 2 hours commute, I will take the one with less commute time, if the rest is the same. 2 hours commute is about my limit. If it is more, I would need a lot more.
      Obviously YMMV, but if you do not count in your daily commute, you are stealing that time from yourself, your family or your action figures.

      I know many people who have taken lesser paid jobs because it was less commute. A

  • Betteridge wins this one. No special snowflakes or unicorns could "fix" India's traffic, because of:

    (a) The hilariously complex and incompetent bureaucracy, which leads to
    (b) Rampant corruption at all levels, plus
    (c) Totally dysfunctional government at local, state and national level (so no effective urban planning) and of course
    (d) India's drivers - people who are normally friendly when you meet them at social events but who collectively transform into total psychopaths when you put them in charge of any

  • Solving traffic issues is unlikely without regulating population size and location. We are experiencing a population bomb and drowning in over population. A fairly quiet town can become totally clogged if people locate in that town suddenly. The best solutions simply can not be applied. For example a building code might allow one bed for every three acres a home occupies. That would push people outside the city limits and reshape the very nature of a city. But doing that has the side effect of swallo
    • by stdarg ( 456557 )

      So the very first thing about traffic control is to control human reproduction rates.

      Self-driving cars, telecommuting, public transportation, expanding roadways, tunneling, cheaper and faster point to point delivery via drones, encouraging businesses to become more geographically diverse... you think government control of reproduction rates should be done BEFORE all of those things? The very first thing? wtf lol

      • Yes, population rates are a vital issue and the cause of numerous miseries. Crime is highly related to population density. Drug addiction, mental health and alcoholism also are amplified by crowding. Employment issues, traffic and just about everything else including pollution all climb when population density gets out of control. Take a look at cities suffering unusual disasters and they have something in common. They sought to expand their labor force by attracting new residents. And then some economic c
  • Actually encourage staggered works schedules. Traffic congestion tends to be the result of rush hour, and by having some workers work earlier and later schedules, you disperse that traffic. Makes everything more efficient, and lets those awful "morning people" deal with each other.
    • by rot16 ( 4603585 )
      To make this even economically viable from person's point of view, is to have road tax at rush hours. If the tax is high enough some people probably would reschedule their lives. All cars could have GPS chips or main roads could have toll stops with plate readers (if it's too soon for 1984).
  • by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Monday July 10, 2017 @08:28AM (#54777531) Homepage

    AI cars can defeat all of our current traffic congestion. But this, combined with AI cars allowing for easier travel, will invite new uses for the road. We will have more people and more miles traveled per person, creating new congestion.

    For example, I would expect a huge increase in road trips. Why spend extra money on a 4 hour flight from Philadelphia to Florida , with an extra 3 hours prep time traveling to the airport + waiting on lines, when you can get in your car at 11 PM, sleep 8 hours, then watch a movie or two, eat breakfast, and get to a beach in Florida by 11 AM. Currently a bus does that, but it is a different when you can do it in a car you already own, without driving.

    • by stdarg ( 456557 )

      Yup, self-driving cars will be a game changer for traffic. Since the majority of traffic in most places is local day-to-day traffic, like getting to/from work, stores, restaurants, etc. I don't think the increased car utilization will come close to outweighing the improved traffic efficiency.

      You have me pretty excited about road trips though. I hadn't really thought about it, but clearly cars will be designed more for passenger comfort. It'll be like first class or better travel, with privacy, at your conve

      • And bus's are among the first that will benefit. Speed is less relevant, the routes are pre-planned, the state can install special radio signs for dangerous areas, and most importantly, the government that chooses to do this can pass legislation to deal with any legal or insurance matters as part of the authorization. About the only better use is garbage trucks (they can get rid of the driver but keep the other garbage men, so they have a back up in an emergency driving situation.)

        • by stdarg ( 456557 )

          In my area, there is already only 1 person per garbage truck -- the driver, who also manipulates the grabber arm. I'm sure that arm can be automated.

          Mail trucks shouldn't be too far behind, which would sure help with the post office's budget issues. We will have a few million newly unemployed/unemployable people to think about though when this all pans out.

  • How about we not have so many people. There is no need to have three, four, five kids for every family.

    Reduce the number of people and you reduce the traffic (and pollution and resource usage and so on).

  • Maybe some other company could solve the problem using technology. A "tech company" doesn't know anything about traffic or how people behave, it only knows about technology.
  • Think about how many people aren't taking the roads now because they are too congestion. Reduce the congestion, and more people will show up to congest it further.

    The problem isn't the roads, it's the city congestion. There is such a thing as too many people in an area. The roads become the bottleneck -- often intentionally because you'd prefer the congestion to be in the roads, rather than elsewhere.

    But if we're talking about far-flung transportation solutions, I enjoy the idea of a ballistically-launc

    • The massive capacity of underground trains enables London and New York to operate high density areas reasonably efficiently - as long as you keep the trains up to date, as NY has failed to do.

      • Nice descent into nothingness:
        1: "enables"
        2: "reasonably"
        3: "as long as"
        4: "failed"

        So you're saying that it needs infinite money, and has yet to work for anyone.

        • I am forced to conclude that you've never been to London and used the amazingly efficient, clean and safe means of travelling around London that the Tube provides. Its only problem is one of success; there are too many commuters trying to use it. But in general it is reliable and a very fast way of getting round a big city. Yes, it does cost a lot to keep it maintained, and that is a charge on tax payers. But the benefits are very real. For visitors it is all that most need.

          • I am forced to conclude that you've lost track of the context being discussed. We are NOT discussing how efficient a subway can be.

            We are discussing how a subway can reduce road congestion.

            I don't need to visit London to know that it's got some of the worst traffic of any first-world city. The news, and even Top Gear, has focused heavily on congestion, smog, regulations, and alternative transportation -- even bicycles are stuck in that traffic.

  • When everyone's job has been replaced by AI, no one will need to commute to work anymore. Problem solved!
  • I like the idea of catapulting humans around and catch them in nets,..
    (this might also help with over population)

  • Bicycle bicycle bicycle
    I want to ride my bicycle bicycle bicycle
    I want to ride my bicycle
    I want to ride my bike
    I want to ride my bicycle
    I want to ride it where I like
    You say black I say white
    You say bark I say bite
    You say shark I say hey man
    Jaws was never my scene
    And I don't like Star Wars
    You say Rolls I say Royce
    You say God give me a choice
    You say Lord I say Christ
    I don't believe in Peter Pan
    Frankenstein or Superman
    All I wanna do is
    Bicycle bicycle bicycle
    I want to ride my bicycle bicycle bicycle
    I want to r

If a 6600 used paper tape instead of core memory, it would use up tape at about 30 miles/second. -- Grishman, Assembly Language Programming

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