Cellphone clusters give traffic jams away
* 22 November 2008
* Magazine issue 2683. Subscribe and get 4 free issues.
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SHOULD you get off the motorway now, or carry on and hope the traffic clears? Your cellphone could soon have the answer.
Researchers at Nokia and the University of California, Berkeley, have developed a system that collects GPS data from mobile phones in moving vehicles and uses it to create traffic maps. The maps are available on the internet or sent to your cellphone to provide local traffic analysis.
Alex Bayen at UC Berkeley says that if enough people download the free software (from http://traffic.berkeley.edu)
, the system should help relieve congestion, even on small intercity roads. And in case you're worried that the neighbours will now be able to follow your every move, he says that the system anonymises GPS data so that it will be impossible to track individual cars.