Are ride-sharing apps, ride-hailing, routing-apps, etc. causing more traffic congestion? According to research from the University of California’s Institute of Transportation Studies, the data suggests that in some scenarios, traffic-beating apps might make congestion worse.

Good grief, that wasn’t the idea. Research showed via video what happens when drivers do not use routing apps compared to when 20 percent use them. When there is more routing app-using drivers, congestion builds up and the situation gets progressively worse mainly due to hundreds of drivers shifting their routes to side streets which were never designed to handle the traffic. If you’ve ever used Waze, you know what we mean. According to a 2015 Pew survey, 90 percent of Americans with smartphones use maps for driving directions at least some of the time, and residents are complaining about increased traffic volume in their local neighborhood.

What’s the solution? The director of UC Berkeley’s Institute of Transportation Studies thinks that routing, ride-sharing or ride-hailing apps should spread drivers out on different routes intentionally which would require extreme collaboration among the mapping apps. This solution alas might not be appreciated amongst those offering competitive routing apps.

But what about this solution? One of the major difficulties in reducing road congestion is it is hard to change traveler mindsets. Nudging is needed as travelling becomes an automatic, habitual process, and as such travelers are often unaware of alternative means of getting from A to B. Journey time measurement is important, regardless of whether the carrot (provision of information) or stick (road-user pricing) approach is applied to encourage users out of their vehicles.

Providing citizens with information on traffic disruptions such as planned street closures due to construction or moving-trucks can encourage alternative routes/times coupled with the uptake of public transport, shared-biking, walking and/or car-pooling. Fortunately, the provision of pre-trip information has the potential to encourage travelers to explore alternative times and modes of transport. In Singapore, a study showed that commuters switched and adapted at a higher rate once provided with timely and accurate travel information. The estimated results of the travel behavior model clearly show that strong mode-switching propensity is observed for commuters in response to integrated multimodal traveler information in congested environments.

The platform collects data from many sources and can display planned loading and offloading data on the virtual map in the app (whether the data arrives from the city, a commercial entity like a logistics or delivery company, or from a private citizen who is planning to block the street. The innovation brings to the table is the information is pre-trip. This isn’t akin to Waze where someone is experiencing something in real-time and thus can only react according to the available options. In this manner a private citizen can make a more informed decision on which route or means of transportation to take before getting into his or her car.

This information is communicated on the virtual, map (within displaying the streets that will be congested. Volunteered data on for example, “I am moving tomorrow, and will block 4th Street,” can be exported to the city cloud system and shared with other technologies. This step is about transforming Big data into understandable, useful data for every citizen who wants to experience a less congested route and decrease traffic congestion. Cities encourage people to use their bicycles more, and besides showing global shared-bike locations in the app, the cycling community can use the app to create location markers with messages like, “I offer flat tire help,” or “Need help to fix a punctured tire,” all extremely relevant especially when these things occur outside normal working hours.

That information, whether from public Open Data, commercial or most likely volunteered data, is shown on the virtual map in the app and will be available via our integration with voice assistants to help minimize the tech divide in society for disabled.

Our motto is: Less waiting time in car, more time with family or friends and healthier cities.