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Traffic

L.A. Traffic Relief Possible If We Targeted Specific Neighborhoods, Says GPS Data

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Mon, Dec 24, 2012 at 10:04 AM

click to enlarge ERIC ESTRADA / FLICKR
  • Eric Estrada / Flickr
Remember car pooling, flexible work schedules and "telecommuting."

Yeah, none of that worked as far as our traffic goes. L.A. still has the worst congestion in the nation.

Will anything bring relief? Researchers at UC Berkeley and MIT think they might have come up with something:

These geniuses took advantage of the fact that we all drive around with virtual GPS devices in our cars whether we like it our not: Smartphones.

Looking at anonymous data and really crunching some numbers, they concluded that, rather than telling wide swaths of people to work from home to help traffic, focusing on specific neighborhoods that seem to affect street patters more would do greater good.

In fact, says a summary, ...

click to enlarge ERIC DEMARCQ
  • Eric Demarcq

... canceling the trips of 1 percent of drivers from carefully selected neighborhoods would reduce the extra travel time for all other drivers in a metropolitan area by as much as 18 percent.

Wow. Traffic could be reduced by nearly one-fifth just by telling those douches from Silver Lake to stay off the road? (We kid).

Although the academics focused on the Bay Area and Boston, the technology to figure out which neighborhoods contribute the most to adverse traffic is in-hand and could be applied to L.A. and even developing nations, the researchers say.

The study was published last week in the journal Scientific Reports. Berkeley's Alexandre Bayen:

Reaching out to everybody to change their time or mode of commute is thus not necessarily as efficient as reaching out to those in a particular geographic area who contribute most to bottlenecks.

We can imagine the L.A. equivalent of East Coast snow days for some of our neighborhoods: Stay-home days. Would be cool.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

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