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November 18 , 2005 - Monitoring Traffic with Cell Phones
Cell phones are quickly becoming more than a way to keep in touch - they now have the ability to alert commuters to real-time traffic updates. New uses of cell phones involve delivering information to you in this case real time traffic alerts. But what if your city or state started using your cell phone to track how fast highway traffic is moving. In Baltimore, Maryland, the government has started a pilot program using this technology for internal use and soon they hope to roll out the real-time road conditions to commuters.
Is Traffic Moving
In Missouri, the Department of Transportation is in the process of rolling out a statewide traffic alert program with use of cell phones as well. When a cell phone is turned on its transition from one cell tower to another sends signals back on how fast a car is moving indicating real-time traffic flow information.
Rapid Response to Traffic Jams
With instantaneous traffic updates, the government can more quickly respond and automatically update electronic road signs, send test messages to cell phones or auto dashboard, and update websites which the newsrooms can quickly access. Previously the government has monitored traffic with scanners embedded in the roads, cameras and other devices that require a high level of installation and maintenance.
Privacy Nuts Respond as Predicted
Naturally the privacy advocates are buzzing about a conspiracy to track your every move. However, the Missouri initiative promises to keep drivers to and from destinations anonymous. The sole purpose of monitoring cell phone transmissions to cell towers is to improve traffic flow management.
Will Florida Roads Benefits
For Florida drivers, when a hurricane's headed your way having real-time traffic alerts would be a dream. Many families were stuck for hours on the Turnpike and Interstates trying to get out of town during hurricane warnings. With traffic congestion alerts sent to you real-time via cell phone you would have a chance to take alternative routes.
Along with Missouri other states have begun similar initiatives including the city of Norfolk, Virginia and Georgia plans to track traffic patterns on I-75 between Atlanta and Macon. So stay tuned Florida, if all goes well in Missouri perhaps Florida drivers will have this option one day soon.
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