We all face the irritating traffic jams while travelling by road, whether it’s you personal vehicle or you prefer a public transport. The condition of the roads is not up to mark in certain routes. Some routes where the construction works such as flyovers, skywalks, etc. are always found to be congested during the peak hours. So regular commuters often tend to choose alternate routes.
These regular commuters are not found to be staying anywhere close to the congested places. So they can afford to take alternate routes. But for commuters who stay near to the congested places; they don’t find alternatives. Even if there are alternatives available, they don’t seem to have any idea about those routes.
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To help such people Lu Zheng & Xing Xie, Engineers at Microsoft Research Asia in Beijing has developed an application called T-Drive. T-Drive will help drivers/you, in case you are driving you vehicle yourself to find the routes which are less congested at that time. You can do the same using Google Maps, but Zheng & his team did a comparison between T-Drive & Google Maps.
They involved a group of taxi drivers in Beijing & told them to ply on routes which are generally congested during peak hours. Around 30 observations were taken by his team & the group of Taxi drivers using T-Drive, were found with a drive time of 23 Minutes which was 4 times faster than that using Google Maps. But the interesting point here is that the routes suggested by Google Maps were almost same in terms their lengths.
Now the question arises, Why the routes suggested using Google Maps took so long as compared to T-Drive. The reason is that T-Drive takes into account the the no. of signals on a particular route, the duration of the signal, Time when the signal is Green (roughly).
Lu Zheng has submitted their app at the ACM Sigspatial International Conference on Advances in Geographic Information Systems in San Jose. If people therein like his teams work then action will be taken in implementing the system in cabbie. If you want more details about T-Drive navigate to the Official T-Drive PDF which has a description about it’s working & also some images.
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What do you think about this application developed by both the Engineers ? Do you think more factors should be included in T-Drive for suggesting faster routes ?