Awesome New Transportation Technology On the Way

The I-95 Corridor Coalition, which includes Virginia among 16 states, has signed a contract with Kirkland, Wash.-based INRIX, to provide travel time and speed data on a network of U.S. highways and arterials for the purpose of contributing to interstate movement along the I-95 Corridor.

According to an INREX press release, the company’s Smart Dust Network and INRIX Traffic Fusion Engine will aggregate and blend traffic data from a variety of sources, including more 750,000 GPS-enabled vehicles and traditional road sensors. The I-95 Corridor Coalition initiative is the largest implementation of real-time traffic flow data sharing across a multi-state region and the first multi-state project leveraging GPS vehicle probes and traditional road sensor information.

The initiative is just one example of what the Kaine administration is doing to leverage technology to improve the flow of traffic, Aneesh Chopra, Virginia’s Secretary of Technology, told the Greater Richmond Technology Council this morning. “We want to put information into the hands of folks so they can make better judgments about where to drive.”

Chopra made the remarks while introducing Jim Buczkowski, director of electrical systems engineering for Ford Motor Company. Buczkowski then outlined Ford’s initiative to convert automobiles into mobile computing platforms capable of handling everything from Ford’s new voice-activated Sync technology to GPS navigation. I’ll have more to say about Bucskowski’s comments in the e-zine Monday.

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  1. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    In addition to real time traffic status, how would you like to know.. not only where the gas stations are but the current prices?

    motels? How about that motel that you didn’t know was 8 miles off of the interstate and 50 bucks cheaper that the ones right at the interchange?

    What the coalition is doing.. I HOPE is not duplicative of what private providers are already pursuing…

    and they are opening up a whole new business paradigm…

    geo-targeted advertising … to cars via GPS and/or cell phone.

    so the good news.. is that some of these services COULD be offered free as long as you take the ADs that come with them.. and to a certain extent.. the ADs might be info that you want…

    in the parlance of one company in this business:

    to get the right info to you at the right time at the right place.

    Want Pizza? Query your GPS/cell phone.. relative to your current position.. get back a list of the Pizza places in the order of distance from you.. starting with the shortest…

    going north out of Richmond an your GPS/cell phone “warns” you that there is a incident on the beltway that’s backing up traffic .. more than an hour..

    you get this info.. in time to not only avoid the backup but to find a viable path around it… just avoid it altogether…

    or .. say.. you are thinking of using the HOT lanes .. 30 miles before you get there. and am wondering how much the tolls will be… verses how slow the free lanes are…

    really exciting things going on…

    whether it be that annual trip to Grandmas or your daily home to work commute.. it may never be the same after this technology comes online

  2. E M Risse Avatar

    Awesome??? Awesome???

    Jim, Jim, Jim:

    No one questions the value of good data. However, if they use the same mode-squed parameters and the same geographically oblivious data agglomeration, there will be more data, not better data.

    Further, there are no important tranpsort solutions to Mobility and Access dysfunctions. Solutions require Fundamental Changes in settlement pattern that result in lower demand for vehicle trips and less overall travel, not more.

    Those who sell Autonomobiles and profit from Large, Private Vehicle Systems will newver come up with solutions.


  3. Jim Bacon Avatar

    Ed, I know all that — I didn’t make any extravagant claims about what the technology would accomplish did I? The fact that the initiative will make only an incremental improvement to traffic flow doesn’t make the technology and what it can do — integrate the feed from tens of thousands of GPS and stationary sensors to ascertain traffic flow — any less amazingly awesome!

  4. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    Despite EMRs usual.. overwhelming condemnation … of contemporary mobility and access… and an advocacy that the ONLY solution is fundamental change to settlement patterns…

    nothwithstanding all of that…I do seem to remember a small spark of approval of shared vehicles systems nested in the anti-car rants…

    and I wanted to point out some potentials with this technology to move society closer to what I think EMR advocates…

    For instance, if you have a GPS or Cell Phone that is “connected” in a real-time sense…

    you could know WHERE currently available parking is (and is not).

    Similarly.. one could find out not only where the closest ZIP car was but reserve it on the spot and then walk to it.

    Combining these two concepts into designated zip-only parking and zip cars that get incentives like free or discounted tolls… etc.. PLUS the zip car itself will tell you WHERE the closest spot is to park it….

    think of this.. in the context of someone who drives to work because they “might” need their car.. that environment transformed because they know with a good degree of certainty that they WILL be able to obtain a Zipcar – On Demand.

    That guy.. now with the “nudging” of HOT lanes and potentially Cordon tolls has a strong incentive to use a multi-passenger shared vehicle to get to/from work.. because he/she knows they can find ad-hoc transportation if the need does arise.

    Places like Tysons and other TOD could set up Cordon Tolls and provide enhanced parking options for Zip Cars while discouraging the use of private cars..not only with Tolls but expensive parking also.

    Those Tolls could serve to lower the rental costs of the Zip Cars.

    Anyhow… the idea of a capability of know what is available..when it is available.. WHERE it is available ..has the potential to transform the way that we do Mobility and Access…. and perhaps in a way that EMR might actually find beneficial (or perhaps not.. ).

    I’m not totally on-board with the idea that ONLY settlement pattern change will solve the mobility and access challenges.. for one primary reason.. and it has to do with the basic philosophy of how are you going to keep the kids on the farm once they have seen Pairee?

    Once people come to know the benefits of being MOBILE.. you’ll never ever convince them to spend most of their life seldom straying beyond the boundary’s of a Balanced Community or even a NUR.

    Even in Europe, Japan and many 3rd world countries – people are mobile… and so to me the issue is how mobility can be provided in the most cost-effective, environmentally-responsible manner.

    We should not view Mobility as the enemy but rather the wild child that needs focus.

    One thing I’d be curious about and that is .. comparative measurement statistics of how many miles the average person moves in a day – broken out by mode.

  5. E M Risse Avatar

    Jim Bacon:

    I know YOU know “all this” but when you use “Awesome” and other superaltives you give RHTCs (Jim M. suggested they be called
    RAHTs) a chance to say:

    OK!! Even Jim Bacons says this will help without reading the whole post or understanding what a new data source will not do.

    All these things could help, but not without Fundamental Change in human settlement patterns and Fundamental Change in governance structure.


    For most locational understanding issues for the vast majority GPS and other gagets cause Geographic Illiteracy and Spacial Ignornce.

    Mobility and Access must come without the need to resort to a Vehicle of any sort. The alternative is to deprive the bottom half, soon to be the bottom 80 perceent of the economic food chain Mobility and Access that assures a quality life.

    The next time a majority of those in your Dooryard are together, ask them what they think


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