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Test creates GPS network to spot traffic jams

Marc Perton

We've seen a number of experiments that attempt to link drivers together, with goals like music sharing and social networking (which would really put the Mo in MoSoSo), but here's one that might actually be worth the effort: A $1.3 million study by New York's Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (funded by federal and state highway officials) links GPS data from participating vehicles into a central database and spits back data on traffic patterns. A driver with the right equipment gets realtime warnings if he's about to enter a congested zone, and can then route around it. Sounds great, but we can't help but wonder: if everyone's connected, and they all follow the same prompts to avoid congestion, won't the traffic just hit them all when they adjust their route — and again, when they swerve to avoid the jam they've just created?

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