Tech companies taking on traffic jams

Solutions by Didi, Alibaba and Ericsson

Heavy traffic is a major concern for big cities. According to INRIX, in 2017 drivers in Moscow and New York spent 91 hours on average stuck in traffic.
Number of hours spent in traffic jams throughout 2017 by an average city resident:
Traffic stats
Although governments regularly try to ease roads congestion, no effective solution has been found yet. Increasing the number of driver lanes causes even more people to start using personal transport. That’s why Los Angeles has both one of the widest road systems in the world and notoriously heavy traffic.

#interesting The longest traffic jam in history was formed in Beijing in August 2010. It took the authorities 12 days to clean it. Ironically, one the factors greatly contributing to the jam were heavy trucks, carrying supplies needed for reconstruction of that very road

Authorities of other countries often resorted to more radical approaches. For example, in Dehli drivers can only use their cars on either odd or even days, depending on their registration number. And in 1990s Jakarta cars carrying less than three passengers were prohibited to be on the roads during peak hours. None of these solutions eliminated traffic jams.
Lately, big tech companies added to the efforts. Didi, Uber’s biggest competitor in China before it acquired its regional business, presented a platform, which tracks drivers data and gives advice on traffic optimization.

#background Up to 25 million rides are booked daily through Didi services. This allows the company to gather valuable insights about the traffic

Didi Smart Transportation platform analyses vehicles and pedestrians flows to help city planners manage traffic lights and choose places for the construction of new roads. The pilot implementation of the platform in Jinan eased congestion by 10-20%, saving residents about 30 thousand hours per day.
Cheng Wei, CEO Didi:

"For the first time in history we have up-to-date data on transport. We may lead the new world transport revolution here, in China."

Alibaba, other tech giant, also works on solutions for smart cities. Company’s City Brain will be used in Malaysia. Initially, the platform will be used for managing traffic, with further uses including city planning and emergencies.
In 2016 City Brain was implemented in Hangzhou. Interest in the platform was also expressed by Macao authorities.
Apart from Chinese companies, Ericcson’s efforts in traffic management are worth mentioning. The Swedish company developed Advanced Traffic Management System (ATMS), which will be launched in Dallas by 2020.
According to the forecast by Fast Company, self-driving cabs and ridesharing will decrease of ratio of personal car ownership by 60% in the next 15 years. In Dallas, where parking expenses are on the lower side, such reduction will amount to 30%.


Also published on Medium.