Comments on: Can TomTom help solve the congestion problem? A slice of lime in the soda Sun, 26 Oct 2014 19:05:02 +0000 hourly 1 By: AnthonyTownsend Fri, 09 Dec 2011 17:02:38 +0000 don’t forget for a minute that this is all a very complex band-aid. traffic volume will continue to grow and absorb all the savings you get from better routing around congestion. at some point, the road system with all its smartly guided vehicles will fill up again and the question of systemic shift to transit, different land use patterns, road pricing, etc etc will all have to be confronted again with much less wiggle room.

By: beowu1f Fri, 09 Dec 2011 04:58:20 +0000 Felix, you sound as excited as my grandmother the first time she used a webcam.. Alas, Google has had this technology for years…

“Live traffic data is available in major cities in the United States, France, Britain, Australia, and Canada, with new cities and countries frequently added. To see if live traffic is available in your area, hover your mouse over the square widget on the top righthand corner of the map. A menu with available layers for your map will appear. Click on Traffic to turn on the layer and view real-time traffic conditions.
Traffic conditions are shown based on data availability. If we don’t have enough data to calculate accurate traffic speeds for a road, then we won’t show traffic conditions for that road. This is the reason why you may see more live traffic results at certain times of the day.
Learn more about other Google Maps layers.”

By: E.D.R. Thu, 08 Dec 2011 19:29:18 +0000 “TomTom is a public company, with an obligation to its shareholders to maximize the amount of money that it can generate from its database.”

What a pity that TomTom can’t act instead in its shareholder’s best interests.

If TomTom were obligated to maximize shareholder value — not the same as share-price value! — then the value delivered to shareholders through traffic flow improvements would likely count as enormous compared to the monetary value delivered by anything else that TomTom might do.

Consider the net benefits to the many de-facto shareholders who own only a sliver of the company through a mutual fund, but are fully invested in their own driving time.

By: trafficgeek Thu, 08 Dec 2011 18:02:04 +0000 INRIX has this data today and would be happy to share it with you. Felix, you should reach out to a gentleman there named Jim Bak.

By: spectre855 Thu, 08 Dec 2011 15:53:54 +0000 Two things:

1. I think you’re on a much better track here to fight congestion than the congestion pricing route. I think there’s a lot of efficiency that can be gained through the use of gps. I think there is way more to be gained through driverless cars (which will use gps) which may not be that far away. Driving habits are just as important as routing when it comes to congestion.

2. I’d be willing to bet that TomTom not making this data available has much less to do with profit than it does with privacy concern. After all, it was NY DOT that turned you down, not TomTom. GPS data is a lightning rod issue right now. Just look at all the location data “scandals” that have occurred recently. Apple, Google, Facebook, CarrierIQ have all been burned. I think that private companies haven’t done a good job of selling the concept that this data is not personally identifiable. Most likely because it hasn’t always proven to be true.

By: Curmudgeon Thu, 08 Dec 2011 14:29:09 +0000 I’m curious as to whether this data is inclusive enough or even representative of the population at any given location. You say there’s a great deal of data, but you (or TomTom) simply don’t offer enough information on whether the TomTom user data plus cell phone company data is comprehensive enough to make any statements about relative or absolute congestion. My auto GPS is not a TomTom, for example, and I often turn off my phone GPS. I know many people with phones lacking a built-in GPS.

It’s not a bad concept in the abstract, but it doesn’t sound even partially thought out yet.

By: matthewslyman Thu, 08 Dec 2011 13:12:06 +0000 > “in London, congestion went up after it went down, and much of the small decline in congestion can be attributed to better public transportation rather than the congestion charge itself”

It’s hard to separate the two, when:
* Improvements in public transport were paid for with the congestion charge: the funds levied were ring-fenced for this purpose. John Prescott (then UK transport secretary) extracted this commitment from Gordon Brown (then UK finance secretary).
* The congestion charge in itself changes the comparative value-proposition of personal vs. public transport. If the effect is not statistically noticeable, all you have to do is increase the charge. In principle, it must eventually affect behaviour, and even if the charge is small, it will affect behaviour on some scale.

By: dwightcramer Thu, 08 Dec 2011 03:44:51 +0000 Get ready for a slaughter of the sacred cows if this stuff ever gets out.

Just for starters–bike lanes may actually have externalities that render them, after those externalities are taken into account, counter-productive in terms of congestion and energy efficiency in precisely those high density urban environments where they are most popular–because the impracticality of widening roads makes traffic flow a zero sum game in terms of available paved area.

By: junkcharts Thu, 08 Dec 2011 03:11:34 +0000 Felix: I highly recommend Anthony Downing’s book on traffic congestion. He argues that congestion is not a problem but a solution – congestion is a solution to a resource allocation problem. Ergo, you will never find the silver bullet.