IBM Smart Phone App Predicts Traffic So You Avoid Jams

traffic during sunset photo

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A new smart phone tool from IBM helps drivers avoid congested roads, getting them from point A to point B faster and reducing their carbon emissions. Called Smarter Traveler, it could help you wise up about which roads to take, and when. Smarter Traveler can predict traffic jams and warn you about the route you're taking before you even turn on the engine. It does this by learning your commute habits through your smart phone's GPS data, and creating personalized forecasts about your commute. It uses real-time traffic data gathered from traffic sensors, toll booths, bridges and so on to predict what traffic may be like at the time you're due to hit that area, and if you're going to be hitting major congestion, it will help reroute you.

Traffic congestion has caused US commuters to waste on average 38 hours, 28 gallons of gas and $808 over the course of a year in 2009, according to one report.

That doesn't sound like fun, but using your phone to avoid traffic does.

IBM is currently testing the technology in the San Francisco Bay Area, and it states that because it is using predictive technology, it's better than any other tool currently on the road for helping us avoid traffic.

"Unlike existing traffic alert solutions, we're helping take the guesswork out of commuting," said Stefan Nusser of IBM Almaden Services Research in a press release. "By actively capturing and analyzing the massive amount of data already being collected, we're blending the automated learning of travel routes with state-of-the-art traffic prediction of those routes to give travelers timely information that can help them make decisions about the best way to get to their destination."

What is especially appealing is that the directions sent to drivers about better ways to get to their designation will include directions to nearby mass transit stations, if the train is on time, and if there is parking available at the station. That could mean that more commuters will learn it is faster and cheaper to take a train to their destination, rather than battling roadways.

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