Road Sage, a project at Berkeley for which I led the user interface and interaction design, won second place among 18 contenders in my department’s final project competition. (Second-year students in my program must build and present a substantial final project before they graduate. At the end of each year two panels of outside judges select the best projects.)
Essentially, Road Sage is Mapquest on steroids: it takes live and historical traffic data into account in choosing and presenting routes, and in estimating travel times. It uses data logged from highway sensors operated by California’s Department of Transportation to forecast traffic between any given starting and ending points, and to suggest the best route at a given time in the future. It also shows live traffic along a given route, among other things.
Mikhail Avrekh, John Han and Lauren Wilkinson (all now graduated) came up with the idea and worked hard for much of the past year to build it out. Bravo team! (Sorry Bay Area drivers, but don’t get too excited. We don’t have a robust multi-user version of Road Sage so it’s not ready for public use. But if Mikhail and friends can track down funding, who knows.)
Imagine weighting the historic traffic data with historic weather records and with the latest weather forecasts — in this way we could more accurately predict future traffic and provide more accurate route suggestions. For regions that include sports stadiums, imagine weighting the traffic data on game days based on past traffic changes that occured on previous game days. Plenty more can be done here to provide ever-more-accurate traffic forecasts and route recommendations, all of which can be built on top of the Road Sage foundation.