I know you hate getting stuck in traffc. The average American spends about $80 a year for gasoline wasted idling in traffic jams. All together, that's about 2.9 billion gallons of fuel wasted. Unfortunately, widening roads doesn't seem to help. Paving more of the planet, it turns out, isn't the solution.
But using the already-paved portions a bit more intelligently could have humongous impacts. Which is where INRIX comes in.
They have just announced that they are creating a device that will allow for:
- Real-time traffic data display
- GPS route-finding based on traffic data for over 800,000 miles of road
- Real-time traffic data gathering
Now, so far, only one of those things is being done. Based on traffic databases throughout the country, some GPS units (generally using INRIX's technology) can already tell you if you're going to hit bad traffic soon.
But there are two new components to this equation that may make traffic jams all-but obsolete. First, INRIX is using a new kind of algorithm that takes all of their traffic-data and provides the fastest route to your destination based on current traffic conditions and traffic conditions for similar days.
And second, INRIX will be installing it's system in hundreds of thousands of new cars made by one of the top three car manufacturers (either GM, Toyota or Ford) and those units will tellin INRIX's computers where they are and how fast they are going. So, basically, as soon as one INRIX enabled car slows down, every other INRIX enabled car will know that there is a traffic jam.
Theoretically, only one person will have to be caught in the traffic jam before everyone else in the world knows about it.
There are obviously some privacy implications here, which I intend to ask INRIX's CEO about in an upcomming interview. If folks have other questions about the technology, please offer them up in the comments, and I'll ask about them.
But if we could save those 2.9 billion gallons of fuel we waste every year, and make people a heck of a lot happier at the same time, I call that a win.
written by kristen, May 21, 2008
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