Thursday, November 15, 2007

Using cellphone data and GPS to reduce Bangalore's traffic woes !!

The 19 th Nov issue of Newsweek, talks of how cellphone user data and GPS (Geographical Positioning Systems) is helping the city of Atlanta in the state of Georgia, US to reduce the traffic delays and congestion on it's roads

An average car which gets stuck for almost six hours in traffic a week spends an amount of almost 4 - 5 litres of petrol extra idling and moving in the snail speed traffic. Besides being a drain on the car owner's wallet and precious foreign exchange for the country, this causes release of excess carbon dioxide, contributing to green house gas emissions and resultant global warming phenomenon. It is of paramount importance that we reduce these emissions and drain of foreign exchange. The loss of man hours of the intellectual capital can only be imagined. Easing out traffic congestion thus attains great importance because of the above reasons.

How does the technology of cell phone and GPS, work ?

Almost all the people moving in their cars on the roads have cell phones which are in direct contact with the mobile towers of the respective companies. So the cell phone companies are in full knowledge of where each of their customer is at any point of time during the day. If this data can be collected and shared between the cell phone companies and the provider of GPS service in Bangalore, ( recently I saw an ad advertising this service in Bangalore, and the first city in India..), the GPS company can prepare the data of congestion points in the city through real time data acquisition systems ( the cell phone user data superimposed on the geographical data of the city) to be used by the travelling public.

Some revenue can be shared by the GPS company to the cell phone companies which will motivate them to share the cell phone user data with the GPS co.. All issues of privacy can be sorted out by the parties together with assurances that the data will not be used for any purpose other than real time data acquisition systems for traffic control in the city.

This can be a cost effective method to tackle the growing traffic congestion problems in the city of Bangalore.


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