It seems like we have already come a long way over the last hundred years, bringing the kind of evolution to cars that would never have been thought possible at first. But as cars have become more plentiful and affordable, others problems have raised their heads. Traffic jams are a fact of modern life, albeit one of the most annoying wastes of time we can possibly come across.
With commuters having to face jams every day, it’s time to ask whether there is anything we can do with technology to make them a thing of the past. Here are the top developments which could seriously stop traffic jams over coming years.
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Virtual traffic lights
We already have plenty of gadgets inside the car. How about adding one that prevents traffic build-up? The idea of virtual traffic lights would be amazing, so long as there was a way to ensure that every car was fitted with them at the same time.
Under this scheme, each car would have a panel on the windshield displaying the lights. Red, amber, and green would appear as normal, but they would no longer be in the sky. They would collect and transmit data from all cars about the speed they are doing, which intersections they are approaching, and so on. Then the algorithm for the local area would determine who stops and who goes, allowing traffic to flow freely and fairly.
This could cut wait time down hugely, and prevent waiting at lights when other cars aren’t around. It’s an excellent idea to get everyone moving in sync.
These have already been implemented in plenty of places around the world, and it could be only a short while before manual tolls are a thing of the past. Instead of paying as you go through the tolls, your license plate is recorded by cameras. This is then linked to an online account through which you can pay the fees later on, or in advance.
We already have GPS which can warn you about traffic jams ahead. It’s only a small step from there to GPS which directs you in such a way that they never happen.
In this scheme, everyone would be using GPS to navigate, and it would transmit information around through the cloud to ensure that all systems were synchronised. You would input your destination and receive directions that are not only customised to find the best route, but also altered to reflect the other drivers around you. In this way, everyone could take slightly different routes to work, preventing traffic build-up in any one area.
These will be the ultimate flow improvement according to some, as they will do away with the need to plan a route yourself at all. The GPS and computer will take care of everything for you, preventing traffic jams as well as car accidents. With fewer crashes on the roads, delays will be reduced significantly in themselves, and routes can be updated second by second based on local traffic flow.
Finally, carpooling apps are one of the technologies we can use today. Apps like Uber allow you to book a ride in someone else’s car. Go a step further and carpool with colleagues or others going in the same direction, and you have a solution that could reduce queues by half or more. If everyone shares a ride, that’s a significant decrease in the number of cars on the road right away.
Technology solutions like these don’t need to be far away. It’s an exciting time to see these changes put into action year on year!
Grace Harrison is a tech-savvy blogger supporting Divvy – parking app for drivers. Deeply interested in how technology impacts the way we live, do business and have fun, Grace often shares her thoughts and ideas online.