The Government's Plan To End Holiday Traffic Using AI

Every year the UK sees a crippling rise in traffic as holiday-goers make their way to airports and major cities. The popularity of holidays has increased in recent years (holidays abroad per person in the United Kingdom increased from 1.2 to 1.7 from 2013 to 2017) leading to even worse traffic jams on UK motorways.

However with the rise of GPS apps such as Waze, Garmin and Here (apps that act as normal a GPS which use user input to update information on speed cameras as well as AI algorithms) the government has found a new way to attack the problem of rising traffic in holiday seasons.

Apps like Waze have skyrocketed in popularity due the ability to report common occurrences that impact on driving (e.g. accidents or traffic) and so warning all the other nearby users.

Apps like Waze have skyrocketed in popularity due the ability to report common occurrences that impact on driving (e.g. accidents or traffic) and so warning all the other nearby users.

Due to the immense popularity of these GPS apps, several users who are going to the same destination (e.g. airport) as other holiday-goers will inevitably end up on the same route as them, worsening the already suffocating motorways. The government’s plan is to influence the data these apps use in order to better redistribute traffic.

Today’s announcement will help open up data, reducing congestion, pollution and frustration for road users
— George Freeman, Minister of State for Transport Technology and Innovation

The government collects large amounts of data on new and potential roadworks through Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs), these are instruments which allow local authorities to restrict, regulate or prevent the use of any public road (e.g. for road works). If the proposed plans are put into effect tech companies will be able to use this gold mine of data, and plan detours for GPS app users in advance. Although it may seem insignificant at first, roadworks are a major cause of holiday traffic jams, with over 50,000 yearly road closures, the government hopes this initiative can lead to making “travelling cleaner and greener, safer, easier and more reliable.“

As a road user, there is nothing more frustrating than discovering roadworks and getting stuck in traffic jams
— George Freeman, Minister of State for Transport Technology and Innovation

In conclusion, at its best this initiative could be the start of a larger movement to make useful government data open to firms and the public, leading to innovative new solutions to previously unsolvable problems. However the most likely outcome is a reduction in holiday traffic for non GPS app users and GPS app users alike.

Thumbnail: https://www.driving.co.uk

Government, EthicsArturo Dezon