August 20, 2014 22:23 UTC

Science & Technology

Navigation App Helps Predict Traffic Conditions

The first version of this app uses data from road sensors.

Traffic jam in New York City
Traffic jam in New York City

Multimedia

Play or download an MP3 of this story
  • A Navigation App That Helps Predict Traffic Conditions

From VOA Learning English, this is the Technology Report in Special English.
 
From New Delhi to Beijing, commuters spend a lot of time stuck in traffic. In the United States, Los Angeles and San Francisco tie for second place for having the worst traffic problems. Washington, D.C. is in first place with the worst traffic, according to the Texas A&M Transportation Institute.
 
In Los Angeles, drivers spend sixty-one hours every year stuck in traffic. These drivers know all too well how bad the traffic can be.
 
“It’s a prison of cars. There’s too many cars, you can’t move around a lot.”
 
“I get very frustrated. I try to listen to some music, maybe snap my fingers or something to try to pass the time.”
 
Professor Cyrus Shahabi also knows about traffic jams. He lives more than 65 kilometers from his office at the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles. He is always late even with the help of a navigation system.
 
He and PhD student Ugur Demiryurek decided to develop an app for that. The ClearPath app claims to do what other navigation systems cannot. Professor Shahabi says his program uses historical data to predict traffic conditions even before the driver leaves the house.
 
"What’s unique is that we utilize a lot of data that’s currently become available including traffic data, weather data, and we analyze that so that we can predict what’s going to happen in front of you when you leave home.”
 
ClearPath uses two and a half years worth of traffic data from 9,000 sensors on the roads of Los Angeles. It also collects information on accidents.
 
“Now you are driving and there’s an accident in front of you, but the accident is 20 minutes away. And you know from historical data that that accident would clear by the time you get there. We can take that into account and send you towards the accident because we think by the time you get there, there wouldn’t be any accident.”
 
Professor Shahabi says his system does more than just respond to current traffic conditions. With ClearPath, he says, a driver can enter what time he wants to leave on a specific time and date, and ClearPath will give the fastest route. It looks at the entire road network, including surface streets as well as highways, before the driver hits the road.
 
Ugur Demiryurek says they will launch the free ClearPath app for roads in Los Angeles in two months. In a year, he and Professor Shahabi hope to have ClearPath available nationwide and overseas once they can collect traffic data from other cities.
 
“I thought always that L.A. had the worst traffic, but now I know that Shanghai, Beijing, Seoul, Tokyo, believe it or not, Singapore, Hong Kong definitely are examples that can immediately utilize this.”
 
Professor Shahabi hopes to license this new technology to companies that already have navigation systems, such as Google and Apple.



 
This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Learn with The News

  • James Foley

    Audio Obama Condemns US Journalist's Execution

    Obama has condemned the Islamic State militants who killed an American reporter and threatened to kill another one. Eric Holder meet with community leaders, local officials and FBI investigators in Ferguson. Liberia police fired tear gas at Ebola protest. More

  • APTOPIX LLWS Pennsylvania Tennessee Baseball

    Audio Girl Making History in Little League World Series

    As the Little League World Series celebrates its 40th anniversary of letting girls play, two take to the mound. And one has a fastball that is leaving the boys at the plate score-less. More

  • Founders Chef Ype Von Hengst (right  and Robert Giaimo during construction of the first Silver Diner in 1989. (Courtesy of Silver Diner)

    Audio Diners Increase Business with Healthy Food

    Restaurants called “diners” can be found throughout the United States. They make simple, low-cost food. But traditional diner food is often unhealthy. One group of diners is cooking healthier food for their customers and, surprisingly, they love it. More

  • Edie Mukiibi, the new vice president of Slow Food International, at a school garden he helped create in Mukono, Uganda, July 22, 2014. (Hilary Heuler/VOA)

    Audio Learning to Grow Traditional Foods in Uganda

    The "slow food" movement is growing in the Western world, but not in Africa. Group works to help people in Uganda and other countries grow local, healthy food. | Agriculture Report More

  • A man is lead away after being detained by police. Ferguson, Missouri, Aug. 18, 2014.

    Audio More Than 70 Arrested in Missouri Protests

    Police arrested more than 70 protestors and reporters Monday night and early Tuesday in the central U.S. town of Ferguson, Missouri. The demonstrators were protesting the shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer on August 9. More

Featured Stories

  • sleep

    While You Sleep, Your Brain Works

    While we sleep, our brains are doing much more than getting ready for the next day. Researchers at the University of Rochester found that the brain may be busy cleaning house -- cleaning out harmful waste materials. More

  • Biltmore Outdoor

    Audio Biltmore Estate Takes Visitors Back in Time

    The huge home in North Carolina was built at the end of the 1800s. The man who owned the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina was George Vanderbilt. Biltmore has 250 rooms and the house is now open to the public. | This Is America More

  • Audio English at the Movies: Robin Williams

    Robin Williams was a humorist and a highly-trained actor. We look at some of his most famous movie lines from a Learning English angle | American Mosaic More

  • Audio From Huge to Extra Small, at New York City Museum

    Currently the Queens Museum is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the New York World's Fair. The museum show is called “Bringing the World Into the World.” It includes a huge model of New York City that was made for the fair. | American Mosaic More

  • Some considered John Brown a hero.

    Audio John Brown Raids Harpers Ferry

    In October of 1859, a group of anti-slavery extremists attacked the town of Harpers Ferry. Harpers Ferry was part of Virginia then; today it is located in West Virginia. A man named John Brown led the attack. His group seized a gun factory and a center where the government kept military equipment. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner BlogConfessions of an English Learner Blog

Tell us About Our Programs