Joint research between University of Delft, The Netherlands, and TomTom, one of the leaders in the GPS industry, has resulted in the development of a traffic jam preventing technology, which could not only significantly reduce travel time, but will also cut down on excessive release of toxic emissions from standing still vehicles.
The new type of GPS navigation system will direct drivers to the fastest and least congested routs or lanes in order to ease the way to their final destination.
It is a well-known fact that drivers, who have up-to-speed traffic information, get home much faster than those who end up in a traffic jam before they realize that there is no turning back. Nowadays, it is so common to get stuck behind a truck, or move with a speed of 20 km/h on a highway, that most of us have already learnt to take the losses, and catch up on the latest top 40 tracks playing on the radio on the way to or from work.
But traffic jams are not only a nuisance on the road, which simply slows us down. When a vehicle stands still with an engine on, it burns excessive amount of fuel and releases a great amount of toxic emissions, which contribute to the development of smogs in urban areas and cause serious damage to public health, just as bad as smoking (leave alone the long term damage that it does on our climate).
Having all this in mind, and probably being stuck on a motorway between Germany and Belgium (through the Netherlands), one too many times, the researchers from Delft, together with technical specialists from TomTom, decided to develop the new technology, which will be tested as from this coming April. Using a mobile application and sensors and cameras fitted on the test vehicles, the makers hope to prove that their product is just as marketable as it is needed.
A limitation that the makers point out is the fact that at least 40% of the vehicles on a particular stretch of the road at a time should use the system in order for it to work. Any less than that will not be able to prevent traffic jams, simply because the remaining drivers will not be aware of the most strategic lanes or routs.
Let’s hope the tests turn out to be successful, and we see the product hitting the market within the next year. Besides reducing emissions and travel time, such system might even boost the positive attitude and bring happiness to all these stressed drivers, who now approach the heavy traffic as if it is a battlefield.