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Cellphones Transportation Science

Project Turns GPS Phones Into Traffic Reporters 119

Posted by timothy
from the then-it's-mandatory dept.
narramissic writes "Starting on Monday, researchers from Nokia and UC Berkeley will kick off the Mobile Millennium project. The researchers hope that thousands of volunteers will download a free Java program that figures out by their movement and location when they are driving, and then transmits that information to the project's servers, which then crunch it into a Bay Area traffic map. 'The whole concept here is that if everyone shares just a little bit of what they're seeing ... then everyone can benefit by seeing the conditions ahead of them,' said Quinn Jacobson, a research leader with Nokia in Palo Alto."
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Project Turns GPS Phones Into Traffic Reporters

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  • The privacy post (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Max Romantschuk (132276) <max@romantschuk.fi> on Friday November 07, 2008 @06:48AM (#25673923) Homepage

    I'm sure the data is anonymized, but how well? Will people be comfortable with having their phone track them? Anyone know? Didn't RTFA yet... ;)

    • by Kagura (843695)
      Until we arrive at an overtly panoptic government, I wouldn't mind volunteering for my data to be shared if it helps.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by ZankerH (1401751)

        Until we arrive at an overtly panoptic government, I wouldn't mind volunteering for my data to be shared if it helps.

        I can certainly see this being used to help the traffic control police - aka revenue generator.

        • by HungryHobo (1314109) on Friday November 07, 2008 @07:48AM (#25674235)

          If this became a big thing and my company maintained a toll road then I'd be looking for ways to create phantom "traffic jams" on alternative routes. This sounds like a trust based system.

          • by wisty (1335733)
            Oh god, this could really be exploited. Just set up a horde of customized clients to "block" the route you want to take ... not that I would approve of such behavior
          • by esampson (223745)

            I would imagine it wouldn't be too difficult for the system to recognize that certain senders are giving bogus data, especially if this became a big thing. You have to do things like that because even honest users will occasionally send bad data, either because their GPS gets a bad fix or because their car breaks down. Once the system realizes someone is sending bad data it can keep an eye on them. If they continue to send lots and lots of bad data then it just stops paying attention to them altogether.

          • I figured people would just do this for kicks. Get a bunch of friends and create virtual traffic jams. I wonder how the system would handle that since a one lane backups do happen.

          • You're overthinking the problem. Just borrow a few drivers from California and you can have *real* traffic jams anywhere with little or no effort.
        • Data and text costs make more.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 07, 2008 @07:58AM (#25674297)

      *considers existence of FaceBook*

      Nevermind.

      • *considers existence of FaceBook*

        Nevermind.

        Then again, on Facebook you do get to choose what information you share about yourself. Might not be the case if you have an app posting info about you automagically...

      • by afidel (530433) on Friday November 07, 2008 @10:24AM (#25675789)
        Actually I'm hoping Google adds this to Google Maps Mobile. Currently they use the commercial traffic services for data which means a delay of 15-30 minutes typically in getting notification about traffic jams, with realtime data from actual commuters they could provide MUCH better data. This would save me hundreds of hours per year. The government can already track you through the cellular network and Google would not turn the individual user data over to anyone else, so why wouldn't I participate?
    • Re:The privacy post (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Dan541 (1032000) on Friday November 07, 2008 @08:01AM (#25674329) Homepage

      Forget privacy, who is going to pay for this wireless data?

      Why would someone sacrifice their battery life just for another to benefit.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 07, 2008 @08:14AM (#25674421)

        That's no problem. The idea is that you benefit from the information which emerges from the aggregated data. Kind of like other community projects, for example CDDB or Wikipedia. You feed a small piece of information into the system and get the service of the whole system back.

        The thing to watch out for is: Who owns the data? Are you really just jumpstarting a commercial enterprise which will later turn the free service into a product or serve your data back to you with ads, while you are forbidden to use the database for your own purposes?

        • I think he was talking about the data traffic cost from the wireless operator. I don't see an operator in the consortium running the project. So, if you have a bad data plan, this will ruin your phone bill - Wikipedia or not.
          • by jroysdon (201893)

            Depending on where you live, I'm sure there are plenty of people with unlimited data plans. Google Maps probably isn't too friendly on my unlimited plan Blackberry (but then neither is Facebook or MidpSSH). I love getting real-time traffic info in Google Maps as well. I just wish it would route better (like Mapquest). Google needs to buy Mapquest, that would solve it ;-)

        • by cellurl (906920)
          I completely agree. I also question slashdot's motives at promoting Nokia. Ok, here goes: I am promoting this: Its free now, but probably not later. I suck! http://www.wikispeedia.org/ [wikispeedia.org] Here's another item I am promoting. Its not free but useful. Slashdot won't cover it. http://www.gpscruise.com/ [gpscruise.com] What do you think? -jim
          • Eh, what? Where did they promote Nokia? Because Nokia's part of the summary due to they are in the article?

            Enlighten me how they're promoting please...

            But on with the show. Cute network, cute device. What's the lifetime on the site you reckon? 5 years? Honest answer please.

          • http://www.wikispeedia.org/ [wikispeedia.org] Here's another item I am promoting. Its not free but useful. Slashdot won't cover it. http://www.gpscruise.com/ [gpscruise.com] [gpscruise.com] What do you think? -jim

            I look at the first and I think "um, okaaaay... what's the point? I can see speed limit signs for myself as I drive...". Alas, I can't look at the second because it redirects to a google doc, which my company's proxy blocks.

      • No man is an island, entire of itself every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls it tolls for thee.

        Err, yeah. Perhaps because you would also benefit, by having access to the aggregated data as well?

      • While it's a little inconvenience, connecting a car charger goes a long way. If you've got an unlimited data plan, why wouldn't you use this?

        • While it's a little inconvenience, connecting a car charger goes a long way. If you've got an unlimited data plan, why wouldn't you use this?

          Connecting to a car charger is also reputedly bad for battery longevity.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      Newsflash: your phone ALREADY tracks you; it's an inherent part of cell phone technology. What matters is how this tracking data is used.
    • by Ian-K (154151)

      It's quite simple to track positions individually yet anonymously. It all depends on goodwill (and how much people want to spend on the GPRS traffic they donate to that system)

      Depends, though, if you live in england or not ;) (see today's post about UK wanting to snoop on all internet traffic)

  • by William Ager (1157031) on Friday November 07, 2008 @06:49AM (#25673931)

    The project seems interesting, and there does appear to be at least some consideration for keeping the data secure.

    However, I would think that the system would require widespread adoption in a particular area before it would even start to be useful, and considering that it will only run on the small percentage of phones that have GPS to begin with, and there isn't much incentive in the beginning for users to install the software, I'm not sure that such an idea will be viable for at least a few more years.

    • by ZankerH (1401751)
      It would also require that the large majority of the users/contributers to the system actually do so with good intentions and aren't trying to deliberately mislead the traffic behind them. That may be the case, but the article makes it sound like it's pretty easy for a single person to game the system.
    • by cornjones (33009) on Friday November 07, 2008 @07:41AM (#25674185) Homepage

      I would think that the system would require widespread adoption in a particular area before it would even start to be useful

      Not really. Initially, I would bet it is only extrapolating based on location and speed. I know somewhere like seattle (and I would be surprised if SF is much different) will have i high enough concentration of geeks w/ toys to bring back data on the major routes. If you have 1 data point on the I5 going at 15 MPH, you can guess that traffic sux. Given the volume of the people, a fairly low adoption rate will give data.

      More data points will always make the system better, of course.

      One of the big advantages to any of these traffic knowledge programs is that they benefit both people tapped in to the program and those not. For example, super tech guy A checks this program and sees that Road N is slammed today. He, or hopefully his software, will plan a new optimum route based on the traffic data. This removes tech guy A from the problematic traffic pattern. Luddite guy B, doesn't know any of this but his traffic pattern is eased b/c the group of people like tech guy A have avoided exacerbating the problem. As a side benefit, you have utilized your road infrastructure more completely. (recent research about limiting paths being more efficient notwithstanding)

      • If you have 1 data point on the I5 going at 15 MPH, you can guess that traffic sux.

        No, you don't. A valid sample size is crucial to reduce or eliminate outliers. In you case, the one guy with the GPS phone is on his donut spare coasting in the breakdown lane and you end up 20 minutes late to work because you took the back roads.

        • No you don't.

          Being the only two people in the area who have the tech, you take the back roads which nobody else used, because they don't have the enabled tech to tell them to not use the interstate.

          You still get a clear journey.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          Traffic is traditionally modeled as a fluid, with all points assumed to be moving within a very small tolerance of some speed. When do you see someone NOT going within 10 of the speed limit who isn't an outlier? They are either parked on the road or blazing through traffic.

          While recent research has suggested that a gas-based model might give better predictive results, you shouldn't need that kind of fine granularity to be accurate in the near-term.
      • I would think that the system would require widespread adoption in a particular area before it would even start to be useful

        Not really. Initially, I would bet it is only extrapolating based on location and speed. I know somewhere like seattle (and I would be surprised if SF is much different) will have i high enough concentration of geeks w/ toys to bring back data on the major routes. If you have 1 data point on the I5 going at 15 MPH, you can guess that traffic sux. Given the volume of the people, a fairly low adoption rate will give data.

        More data points will always make the system better, of course.

        One of the big advantages to any of these traffic knowledge programs is that they benefit both people tapped in to the program and those not. For example, super tech guy A checks this program and sees that Road N is slammed today. He, or hopefully his software, will plan a new optimum route based on the traffic data. This removes tech guy A from the problematic traffic pattern. Luddite guy B, doesn't know any of this but his traffic pattern is eased b/c the group of people like tech guy A have avoided exacerbating the problem. As a side benefit, you have utilized your road infrastructure more completely. (recent research about limiting paths being more efficient notwithstanding)

        It would be interesting to see what sort of equilibrium is reached - if enough people use it and move off main roads; side roads start to slow while main roads improve. This could result in people returning to the main roads; resulting in the opposite and a move to side roads.

        It could result in some steady state level of use or a blinking Life equilibrium between two patterns.

        The algorithm would be interesting - they could through out the outliers before averaging to eliminate the stopped by the side of th

        • Traffic is modeled best as a fluid or gas in motion (I posted above, if a little less coherently). This type of equilibrium can be heard when your pipes creak in a large building as pressure equalizes.

          This will probably help in the short term by recommending quicker routes OFF the interstate (get off one exit earlier, for example). Long-term benefits will only be see by cities using this data to shape traffic: time lights (valves in a fluid or gas model), add bus express lines and carpool incentives, etc.

      • by mapkinase (958129)

        That won't work in downtowns: how do you identify which phone is walking or driving?

        • The walkers wait at intersections and then proceed at about 3-4 miles per hour. The drivers wait at intersections and then proceed at 35 until the next intersection.

          It's the bicycle messengers that will really mess up the stats.
        • by 2short (466733)

            You don't care about downtowns. Downtown is the start point or destination; you take the street that goes to your office. For traffic data, all you care about is major arteries.
            I do data analysis that needs good (average, not real-time) speed data for all the roads. It's very frustrating - nobody has it because almost nobody else cares.
      • I know somewhere like seattle (and I would be surprised if SF is much different) will have i high enough concentration of geeks w/ toys to bring back data on the major routes. If you have 1 data point on the I5 going at 15 MPH, you can guess that traffic sux.

        Actually, there's many, many places along I-5 where you can get that singular data point - and be dead wrong. That is, the data point can actually be *adjacent* and traveling parallel to I-5[1] but the inaccuracy of GPS[2] can make it appear to be *on*

        • by corsec67 (627446)

          Or some places where the interstate is raised, and there is a local road *UNDER* the interstate, with stop lights. If you only look at lat/long on the GPS, it would look like there are a bunch of cars stopped in the middle of the interstate. The altitude would have to be accurate to within about 15 feet to positively say which road you are on. (I think I-70 a bit east of I-25 in Denver is like this)

          Another issue, at least with my Garmin Venture CX GPS is signal reflections. I was on a mountain in CO at abou

      • The system will show that traffic on Bart's above-grade lines to be heavy, but moving well.
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This type of data is also very useful if paired with the extensive data already being captured by the local DOT, and a company called Traffic.com, since bought by NavTeq, which was subsequently bought by...wait for it............... Nokia.

      Traffic/Nokia has sensors along all of the big highways in the top 30+ markets in the US. This takes a decent amount of $$ to install (and subsequently maintain), but it's already installed, up and running (hence the purchase by Navteq). If this "new" methodology proves wo

  • by cavehobbit (652751) on Friday November 07, 2008 @06:51AM (#25673937)

    Come on. Don't they know the reason we all listen to the half-hour-out-of-date traffic reports from the helicopter reporters is the same as why we watch Nascar and Indy car races? The chances of a crash and the anticipation of mayhem are the whole idea. Not to mention the cheesy chopper sound track they add.

    This takes all that out of it. It guarantees a daily fender-bender on I-95 while drivers fiddle with the app. Whoop-de-doo.

    Well, maybe if they keep the chopper sound effects.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by thedonger (1317951)
      I think an even bigger issue with the immediately-out-of-date traffic report is that once the crash is cleared and the traffic at the front of the line starts moving they consider the problem resolved. They do not take into account the ripple effect sending echoing "shockwaves" of traffic stalls up and down the highway.
  • by Lord Satri (609291) <alexandreleroux@noSpaM.gmail.com> on Friday November 07, 2008 @07:07AM (#25674003) Homepage Journal

    I of course wish them good luck. One of the last commercial attempts to do this, Dash Express [dash.net], recently revealed it did no go as well as originally planned [zdnet.com].

    • by e2d2 (115622)

      Which brings up a great point. I really hope they have legal advice on this project because they are walking the thin line of IP here. I worked on a similar project around 1998-1999 for a large company and their IP was always precious to them. I've seen a few other commercial companies try also.

      So the moral of the story above - CYA.

  • TomTom did it! (Score:5, Informative)

    by wfberg (24378) on Friday November 07, 2008 @07:09AM (#25674009)

    TomTom takes anonymized location information from mobile phone handsets in The Netherlands, and make traffic reports they call HD traffic [tomtom.com].

    The handsets are not (necessarily) equipped with GPS chips, but their location is triangulated by the GSM network itself. The mobile network (Vodafone NL) supplies the information to TomTom, who then process it into traffic reports.

    They claim to cover 10 times more roadarea than conventional traffic detection that uses inductive loops embedded in the roads. (The conventional system is already quite extensive in The Netherlands, which is a small and densely populated country). I seem to recall TomTom also have some sort of patent.

    • by caluml (551744)
      This is actually why I started my Location Tracking [calum.org] system a few years ago.
      Convince enough people to submit their data (pay them for it, per mile?) and then sell the aggregated data to people who wanted it. Road builders, government, people who want to know where congestion is.
    • by CompMD (522020)

      AGPS over cell phone networks is atrociously inaccurate and cannot be trusted for true position fixes.

    • by joshuac (53492)

      As navigation systems in the U.S. (at least in urban areas) have already passed the critical mass point, it seems a more intelligent way to do this would be to use the GPS info from the Nav system itself to record speed (or time between two intersections really) and just use the phone as a Bluetooth bridge to the Internet. Precise updates, no cell tower triangulation approximation needed. Triangulation from the towers is awesome use of already existing information though for sure and was probably a good s

      • TomTom's "HD Traffic [tomtom.com]" gets information on traffic speed from all drivers who have a Vodaphone cell phone in their car.

        It does not require each of those drivers to have TomTom devices. It does not require the cell phones to have GPS trackers. It does not require the cell phones to use air time or have unlimited data plans, or even have the ability to connect to the internet.

        [Disclosure: I work for TomTom. Whenever I go down to the lunch room, I walk by the HD traffic control center [gpsbusinessnews.com] where they collect an

        • by joshuac (53492)

          It does not require each of those drivers to have TomTom devices. It does not require the cell phones to have GPS trackers. It does not require the cell phones to use air time or have unlimited data plans, or even have the ability to connect to the internet.

          Which was critical in the beginning when there weren't many Nav systems out there and wireless data service via cell phone wasn't a commodity.

          The "chicken and egg" and "critical mass" problems are solved by combining traffic data from several different source, and getting a lot more data points than we would get if we only collected data from drivers who have a TomTom that's always connected to the internet with an unlimited data plan.

          Sounds more like "were" solved; like I said before in the post you're responding to, this was probably a killer feature when there weren't many Nav systems out there.

          The other question is how to TomTom users receive this real time traffic information. The TomTom devices that support HD traffic have their own cell phones with built-in SIM cards, whose cost is covered by the HD traffic subscription, so it can download traffic reports in real time. It does not require you to drain the batteries and increase the bill of your own cell phone. The TomTom device is usually plugged into the car charger.

          That's great, although I think the number of mobile phone users with limited data plans are dwindling fast, besides, if they're paying for the dataplan on the TomTom embedded cell phone, why not just pay

  • by ngp (88217) on Friday November 07, 2008 @07:09AM (#25674011)

    You and your 50 coworkers get to the office and forget to turn off that app? Massive non-existent traffic jam?

  • "The whole concept here is that if everyone shares just a little bit (...) then everyone can benefit"

    That would solve a lot of the world problems, not just traffic.
  • by ashraya (632661) on Friday November 07, 2008 @07:19AM (#25674053)
    In Bangalore, they tried to do this in a different way by looking at the number of cell phones that connect to various towers etc., without using GPS. Check out the links at http://btis.in/live.htm [btis.in] ashraya
    • forget about Bangalore, all Belgium (market penetration 100+ %) is covered. Can't remember the link though.

      • by epot (1402297)
        In Belgium, at least one company does this with simple mobile phone signal, no additional software to download: http://www.be-mobile.be/ [be-mobile.be] Example in a national newspaper: http://trafic.lesoir.be/?act=infotraf [lesoir.be] (only tick "Bouchon" if you only want to see traffic jams ; colours show mean speed of cars). Of course, nobody never sign anything about using their phone signal to something else than making and receiving phone calls. Providers just did it without the consumer consent. And nobody said anything. That
        • I'm working for the Operator that provides the data. We have strong customer privacy protection rules that are reminded to us on a regular basis. Be certain the data is anonymized, and cannot be trivially datamined to find back the customer information.

  • Tom Tom HD (Score:2, Informative)

    by zoefff (61970)

    It's already commercially available here in the Netherlands. Tomtom teamed up with vodaphone, which can locate their mobile phones location and speed (not necessarily GPS needed) . This is fed to tomtom, which displays it on your navigation system. More info here [tomtom.com]

  • Shame, would have been nice, if they used world maps.
  • Stupid... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by g0dsp33d (849253)
    There's already a cell-phone based system. People with phones call local radio stations when there's a delay. Unfortunately it probably won't help much. If there were a good alternative, there probably wouldn't be traffic to begin with. I commute on 95 & PA turnpike, and if its closed, I'm pretty much screwed into a 3 times as long commute. Getting an instant update won't really do anything other than give me a few more minutes of misery through anticipation.
    • by xonen (774419)

      If there were a good alternative, there probably wouldn't be traffic to begin with.

      This alternative exists. Simply don't use a car, or if you can't, try not to use it daily. We all think we have the 'right' to drive car, our economy is based on it. I know how hard it is for an individual to make this choice between location of work and living and shopping and family visits, still, it's the only valid alternative. Anything else is deemed to fail sooner or later, or a theoretical solution, like perfect public transport.

      We should focus more on a solution where job and house are located ve

  • hehehe... It might be kinda fun to take a phone on this system and go spin in circles for hours on a merry-go-round in a playground.
    I wonder what other mischief you get into with one of these?

    • by Q-Hack! (37846) *

      Well, seeing as how most civilian GPS units are only accurate to about 100 feet. And most playground Merry-Go-Rounds are no more than 20 feet across... The system would just see you as stopped in one place.

      albeit, maybe a bit dizzier.

  • This could have a far better use. As the technology develops and power consumption drops it could be a benefit to 911 services. Currently the technology to aquire the location of a cell phone call to emergency numbers is crude or non-existent. If a caller is unable to talk but still has the wherewithall to call 911 he is unable to tell them where he is, with a system like this it would allow response personel to still find them.
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Friday November 07, 2008 @08:56AM (#25674753) Journal
    Ideas seems to be good on paper, but on reality it is going to go the way Citizen Band radio went. One dumb teen who thought he was a DJ would play his scratchy cassette player over the radio and knock everyone else within his broadcast radius. Something similar could happen to this method too.

    The data streams are anonymous and users voluntarily download and install a java program. Wow! What can go wrong?

    A few spoilsports will hack the java program to give misleading reports, multiple reports. Initially I don't see any benefit to the hackers. But the script kiddies do not think rationally. They do it anyway.

    Why can't the cell towers simply track the number of phones each tower is pinging? Then the net gain and net loss of number of phones, plotted over time, gives the direction of movement of the population of cell phones. That should be enough to give a good idea of the traffic. This would be a better way to find/predict traffic congestion than asking thousands of peoples to actively report their positions.

    • by Fnord666 (889225)

      One dumb teen who thought he was a DJ would play his scratchy cassette player over the radio and knock everyone else within his broadcast radius.

      That's what straight pins shoved through the antenna feed coax and clipped flush with the sheathing are for. Especially if you insert them at a reflection point based on the wavelength.

  • Garmin and Navteq have had this out for a while...there is a radio receiver in some Garmin GPS units that receives traffic reports and will automatically create detour routes around traffic, accidents, or even construction.

    • by esampson (223745)

      I believe that what's significant here is how the data is being generated.

      The current systems (Garmin and Navteq are just two examples) work, as you said, off traffic reports. This requires a certain infrastructure like roadway sensors or a way for a human agent to gather information about the road.

      In the system to be tested the data is automatically generated from the cell phones of drivers. This means no sensors need to be placed and no human agent needs to gather information.

      • by SimHacker (180785)

        TomTom's HD Traffic system combines the standard (and spurious) traffic reports, roadway sensors, and other information with real-time data collected from cell phone towers, and it's continuously monitored 24/7 in the HD Traffic Control Center [gpsbusinessnews.com] to filter out misinformation and prevent abuse.

        So not only would there be no point to hacking TomTom HD Traffic, but it would be very difficult to hack without resorting to all kinds of felonious, easily detected activities.

        -Don

  • Don't worry, guys, I'm sure Lucius Fox will destroy the computer that holds all the phone calls recorded by this app. He's just going to use it to find the bomb. And then track down the guys who planted the bomb. Might as well find Osama while he's at it. Plus he should do a quick check on who's talking about the Nation of Islam. Wait-- don't turn your phone off! Don't you need to "call" your girlfriend tonight?
  • Commercial GPS devices have been making use of traffic message channels (TMCs) not long after they were introduced. This will provide similar information for low traffic streets, but does tht make it very useful?
  • from other studies, can we change this so we can figure out who the idiots
    causing most of the traffic jams are? It can just automatically mail them
    a ticket for being stupid?

  • So now people will be watching their phone screens more than they already are, looking for traffic updates.

    "Hmmm... phone says traffic is slowing down ahe**WHAM!**"

    Rear end collision! Phone sends update of new stoppage in traffic.

  • Is it the user's responsibility to turn it off when not in a car? Unless the system works absolutely in the background, I don't see it playing out that well. Testing this in the Bay Area, I foresee a lot of volunteers walking down the streets of San Francisco passively reporting as slow traffic (I assume the GPS isn't differentiating between the 5 foot gap from sidewalk to street). Not that I wouldn't find pedestrian foot traffic data interesting, but I'm doubting it's useful for Mobile Millennium purposes.
  • Take this concept a bit further. Let's say in 10 years, GPS is standard in enough vehicles on the road to make traffic status very accurate.

    Assuming that fossil fueled vehicles are still present, why couldn't a government entity track your road time/route, calculate a pollution or road usage tax based on your actual driving activities and the known MPG rating of your vehicle? One already has to register his/her vehicle (including, year, make and model) with the state. Coupling that with the MPG rating
    • by deimtee (762122)
      Why bother with that? Just tax the fuel the way they already do. The more you burn, the more you pay.
      Over here about 70% of the pump price is tax.
  • as a biker, i have to think that i and my fellow bikers would be reporting incorrect traffic data to the server since we are allowed to split the lanes in california. at this point there are probably not enough bikes on the road to make a serious dent in a normal use of the apps, but if all of us used it and very few cars did, would it not report incorrect traffic flow?
    • by Fnord666 (889225)

      ... since we are allowed to split the lanes in california. at this point there are probably not enough bikes on the road to make a serious dent in a normal use of the apps,...

      Why does it seem like a bad idea to mention lane splitting and serious dent in the same post?

      Seriously though, lane splitting seems like suicide. How dangerous is it?

      • it's as dangerous as the driver who does it. i won't do it if traffic is going faster than about 40 mph, but you see guys doing at at 90+ mph, and *that* is definitely suicide, imho
  • To really make this handy, they need to tie the phones into people's radar detectors and report that data as well.

    • by shot151 (1388155)
      I've always wondered about cop cars being tracked. Either via GPS or the appropriate police radio band. Wouldn't it be possible to do some sort of fox hunt for whatever frequency and approximate if you are close or not to a cop car. Assumption is that they are sending traffic over the radio.
  • ... different cell carriers will have different rates for GPS usage. Up here in Canada, where monopolistic cell providers are screwing us, I can hear their bean-counters rubbing their hands and giggling in glee.

  • How is this news? AFAIK TomTom [tomtom.com] uses this technique for their traffic services for *ages*.

  • It is going to be very inefficient tool for traffic monitoring, every expert in traffic knows that the traffic flow management requires much more than just monitoring cars. It is required to track speed, project accordeon effects, forecast congestion, etc. Video traffic monitoring deployed on highways in europe is closest to the real time traffic monitoring. The background of Nokia's project is again, catch the mobile users and trick them into generating more traffic for mobile operators. Are you really wil
  • You don't get this opportunity often, but sometimes you can make a financial advantage just by registrating for a Multi Table Poker Tournament (MTT)! âoeHow is this possible?â you think? The answer is within the "overlays" given by guaranteed prizepools offered for some MTTs. An example: On Sunday the 02/11/2008 the â250.000 Guaranteed Tournament at CelebPoker had a â320 Buy-In. 613 players registered for this tournament. Now the calculation fun begins! First you have to divide the of
  • Why wasn't this in v1.0 of consumer GPS? It's not like collecting data from client devices to compute on the server, for use by the client community, is mind-boggling genius. It's kind of the reason for the client-server model in the first place. Don't get me wrong, I'm not panning the article, just suggesting this industry does not appear to be very competitive.

The IQ of the group is the lowest IQ of a member of the group divided by the number of people in the group.

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