tech

Traffic jams just a maths problem, says Israeli AI firm

33 Comments
By Jonah Mandel

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33 Comments
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It's also human behavior problem.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Man, I have been through that exact spot on that freeway many thousands of times in my life. Interstate 405, because it takes 4 or 5 hours to get anywhere on it at 4 or 5 miles per hour.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Los Angeles traffic jam photo and the article is about Israeli traffic issues.

Can artificial intelligence actually help human intelligence ?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The article is about a solution to traffic issues, which are global. But one would have to read the article to know that.

In Japan (and elsewhere), I think some of the traffic problems are intentional. They want to force people to drive slowly, or they want to force people to take public transit. Many of the problem areas could be easily fixed, but they are not.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Gps and Google map is the only AI people need to drive a car

0 ( +1 / -1 )

In Japan

The article doesn't mention Japan at all !

0 ( +1 / -1 )

My skin crawls when people use the word "math" as a countable noun.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Being stuck in a bottle-neck is the usual cause of heavy traffic.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@commanteer

In Japan and elsewhere i think some of the traffic problems are intentional ,they want to force people to drive slowly, or they want to force people to take public transit.

Intentional ?

Are you serious ? !

It just so happens i work as a traffic director in Japan , and i assure you from experience that in Japan what your assuming as "intentional" traffic problems is absolutely definitely not the case.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

My skin crawls when people use the word "math" as a countable noun

That goes both ways for many us.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

My skin crawls when people use the word "math" as a countable noun.

Yes, you are right , of course, when strictly abiding to those static grammar rules. But if you look some closer, there are countable and different categories of fishs, milks, sheeps, mathematics / maths, statistics and so on. Happy crawling…lol

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It just so happens i work as a traffic director in Japan , and i assure you from experience that in Japan what your assuming as "intentional" traffic problems is absolutely definitely not the case.

Wow!! A traffic director in Japan! I never thought I would stumble upon one. In fact, I registered here just to be able to reply!

Perhaps you wouldn't mind jumping in car with me for a bit of a real life traffic tour (assuming you are around Tokyo)? We can do one during day and one during night (particularly interesting). Just to show how much life is wasted completely unnecessarily here. I'm driving every day through Tokyo / suburbs and it indeed can't be that bad unintentionally. As poster above, my theory is as well that it's done intentionally to slow people down. Either that or somebody clearly doesn't know what they are doing. The way traffic lights are programmed in most of cases is just absurd. The fact that they don't use traffic light sensors in such "tech savvy" country is also beyond me (I know some lights have them but they are close to useless).

I don't think they are doing it to force people to use public transportation though. They reeeeeally like their car tax yen.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Strange complaining. Feel free any time to join public transportation and replacing one hour standing in traffic congestion by standing one hour at a bus stop and waiting for the next bus.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

One of the most frustrating things I encounter almost everyday on the road here in Japan is a traffic light thats green (some say "blue") for only about a minute. By the time cars start rolling through, its already yellow. Maybe 10 cars get through before it turns yellow. Traffic gets backed up.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

commanteerToday 08:02 am JST

In Japan (and elsewhere), I think some of the traffic problems are intentional. They want to force people to drive slowly, or they want to force people to take public transit. Many of the problem areas could be easily fixed, but they are not.

I agree one hundred percent! I live on the main road in lower eastern Kanagawa. There's one stretch that is a single lane each way. It used to be wide enough to allow cars turning left onto a side prefectural road to not have to wait for the cars in front of them to go past the intersection. Basically, it was wide enough for two cars so what do they do instead? A few years back, they unnecessarily extended the sidewalk all the way out so only one car could fit, thereby slowing down traffic. There are many places where they could easily widen the road by just a half meter or so to allow for a smoother flow but it will never happen. The major logjam along the bay in Kamakura finally got addressed a few years back but they really want to force people to use the ", convenient" public transport or take taxis.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

In developed countries AI can solve traffic jams.

But in my country we get cars, trucks, bikes, tractors, bicycles, jaywalkers, cows, buffaloes, bullock carts, stray dogs, elephants, sheep, goats and camels all on the highways.

Not to mention the entitled politicians who get a kick out of stopping traffic so that their convoys of bullet proof SUVs can pass through.

Now which AI can solve these problems?

As Einstein once said, artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Traffic jams just a math problem, says Israeli AI firm:

Indeed, road jam is a global scourge, an average driver spends 3 days a year stuck in jams that pump out voluminous greenhouse gas emissions.

Hope that this AI algorithms could help to monitor traffic flow & adjust traffic lights timing accordingly..

2 ( +2 / -0 )

AI is still bad as solving the random cow or flash flood issue on roads. Some roads have washed out bridges or 2m of water after a heavy rain. Humans can't tell if the water over the road is 1 inch or 3m deep.

I guy I worked used to work in the traffic management team of the county were I lived. He explained the systems from a high level over lunch one day. It was pretty impressive and all dynamic based on road sensors and road cameras.

My county knows how to move lots and lots of vehicles. I've never seen it done better anywhere else with completely packed roads.

The traffic computers try to help the most vehicles move with the fewest stops at the highest speeds - usually the speed limit. They also dynamically limit the number of vehicles allowed to enter any freeway/highway.

Of course, 1 or 2 days a year, there would be an accident that would block the only real way to get somewhere and when that happened, everyone would just pull into a mall or restaurant for a 2+ hr wait, if they could. I've been stuck, stopped, on a freeway, just once in my life. We all got out of our cars, sat on the hood and chatted with each other. Wasn't much to be done. Getting frustrated wouldn't help.

Traveling around the US, I've been stuck in traffic going 5 mph a few times. It was really frustrating. And it didn't just happen near cities. On I-75 North going towards Kentucky, I've been stuck for a few hours in the middle of nowhere. Never figured out why. No side roads there. No real alternate route.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"The future of vehicles lies outside ""The future of vehicles lies outside vehicles -- in the cloud, our phones, in the cars to some extent, and all these elements create an open platform," said Gil Golan, head of GM's local technical centre.”

No the future of vehicles lies outside (motor) vehicles - in better designed cities built for people not cars, in public transportation and active travel solutions i.e. biking/e-bikes/scooters/walking within cities.

Drivers you aren’t in traffic, you are traffic.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

My skin crawls when people use the word "math" as a countable noun.

Where is it used as a countable noun?

USA: Math is difficult. (Or mathematics is difficult.)

UK: Maths is difficult. (Or mathematics is difficult.)

Different words, both non-countable.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I don't miss L.A. traffic but I do miss not paying to use the highway.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

There are many more practical things that can be done to improve traffic. AI is not needed.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

They have traffic light,for 100 of years,they works

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

To a sense every problem can be converted to a math problem.

Still it could be interesting to see if this approach can actually be done and it performs as described. An interesting alternative is the adoption of self-driving cars, research seems to point to a much more efficient and problem free driving for all even if only a limited percentage of cars are self-driving.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

76% of people don’t understand math, and the other 2/3rds don’t care.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

No the future of vehicles lies outside (motor) vehicles - in better designed cities built for people not cars, in public transportation and active travel solutions i.e. biking/e-bikes/scooters/walking within cities.

More of the arrogant drivel of city dwellers who have no idea what life is like outside of the concrete jungles they inhabit. Your "solutions" are useless when the nearest city of any size is 150 km away across mostly open country with no other habitation aside from scattered homesteads or a couple of small RV camps. I don't live within easy walking distance of any shopping. It is not practical to ride a bicycle to work in the summer heat or winter cold. When we shop we drive 150 km to the nearest big city and fill the car to come home. There is no daily public transport from here to that city either. What we have runs twice a day at 6:00 am and again at 6:00pm, but only three days a week and not at all on weekends. Using busses takes about twice as long as driving too. So the whole public transit thing you advocate is useless. Even if I could take a bus to the next city humping a weeks shopping 150 km changing busses on the way is not doable. Tell you what, stay in your miserable cities and don't tell the rest of us how to live our lives. We don't want to live like you.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

"...across mostly open country with no other habitation aside from scattered homesteads..."

Scattered homesteads? Which country are we applying the mathmatical algorithm to?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Which country are we applying the mathmatical algorithm to?

Travel around the western US. Not the coasts but the high deserts, the Great Basin, eastern Oregon, northern Nevada or Wyoming and you will find you often have distances of 200km or more between towns. It even more desolate in most of Australia outside the major cities. Many times I went 220 km between gas stops, and all they were was a cattle station in the middle of nowhere with a petrol station, pub, a few rooms and a store. So all these chirpy city slickers who think the answer to transportation are bicycles and public transit just make my eyes roll. None of that works where I live and part of the reason I live out here is I don't want to live that way. I've been to places like London, Shanghai, SIngapore, Los Angeles, and New York. I grew up in LA, left that rat hole in my early 20s and will never return. And LA is a garden spot compared to Shanghai or Singapore. I will never live like that and don't think you can legislate me or my neighbors into living that way.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Hermit people out in the sticks obviously have more of a need for a car for than the people living in cities where traffic is a problem.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Quote “an algorithm can help”, and “a 30% drop”.

Cool, but slightly less than the headline claims.

(Traffic jams just a math(s) problem)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Scattered homesteads? Which country are we applying the mathmatical algorithm to?

Much of the world is like this. Not just the far western, non-coastal, US. Much of the world has sporadic trains, a few more buses, and millions of taxis.

Buses and taxis are terrible. I've seen a bus hit a woman in very urban cities like Kathmandu and I've seen a bus hit another vehicle in rural Nepal and I've seen an idiot driver hit a bus going at walking speed in Austin, Tx.

Did a 12 hour bus trip in Argentina which had a few stops, but it was mostly farm/ranches. The bus had internet the entire trip. Was smarter and flew 3000km in Chile to Patagonia. Patagonia is pretty empty, except the lightly used tourist areas. Driving is 34 hours according to Google Maps "without traffic". Punta Arenas is the "big town" there - hours away from anything else. The current Chilean President is from Punta Arenas. Little, if any, cell coverage. No emergency helicopters to get you out if anything bad happens. A hiker broke her ankle near the top of a climb and 3 guides had a 1-wheel bucket to get her down ... 10 miles up, 10 miles down. They relayed radio calls from the base to the top.

South Africa has long spans of roads with nothing.

Traffic is definitely a math problem, where there are options. Sometimes there aren't any other options.

I've been stuck in a traffic jam between Houston and San Antonio ... all traveling 75 mph on I-10 for 3 hrs. Bumper to bumper. That's 200 miles (320 km). There are a few villages along the way, but people only stop to refuel.

I've also been stuck for hours on the the road with back-to-back traffic in Nepal between cities. A 4 hr trip became a 12 hour trip for everyone on the road that day - both directions.

Citified people have a completely different view of traffic.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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