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Nokia Conducts Real Time Traffic Test

February 9, 2008 in Wireless Industry News

When not busy dreaming up the next Prism Phone, the folks at Nokia put their heads together and try to fix some of the world’s problems. First up: traffic.

Nokia Research Center

Nokia Research Center

With the help of some students at UC Berkeley, Nokia’s Research Center outfitted a hundred cars with N95 GPS-enabled smartphones and drove them around some highways in the San Francisco area. The phones would periodically send out (anonymous) location data that was collected by some servers. They eventually reached the conclusion: traffic sucks.

Seriously, the experiment was actually a test to see if the data could be combined to figure out traffic patterns and projected travel times. Long story short, the test was a success. Interesting side fact: less than 5% of the vehicles on the road need to contribute GPS/location data to get a pretty accurate picture of what’s happening. Very cool.

Of course, the press release also highlighted some not-so-well-known statistics about traffic: it causes 4.2 billion hours extra travel every year and the purchase of extra 2.9 billion gallons of fuel for a congestion cost of USD 78 billion blah blah blah.

I’m no UC Berkeley traffic scholar, but I do know the best way to fix the traffic problem: rubber cars.

Nokia and UC Berkeley Capture Real-Time Traffic Information Using GPS Enabled Mobile Devices

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