As Cairo Ranks Among Cities with World's Worst Traffic, a Solution May Be on the Horizon
A team at the Technological University in Singapore, partnering up with BMW, have developed a programme designed to analyse and alleviate traffic.
Cairo has ranked the fourth worst city worldwide in terms of traffic congestion right after Pune, India according to CAPMAS (Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics), where the total amount of licensed vehicles in Egypt is approaching 11.1 million vehicles. This is an exponential rise, since in 2014 the amount of licensed vehicles was half as much as it is now.
The infrastructure in Egypt is hardly ever updated to accommodate the exponential rise in vehicle count and this comparable to a traffic ticking time bomb, waiting to either explode or be diffused. It seems, however, like a multitude of solutions have emerged to combat the rising traffic ordeal in Egypt, such as enforcing a law where even-number plate bearing cars are allowed to drive on certain days where odd number plate bearing cars were not. But it seems none of the solutions addressed the objective reason of traffic itself, however. Till now perhaps.
At the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, the technology team has partnered up with BMW to develop a programme that can prevent traffic jams from forming, rather than find a solution to them once they have already formed. Using a mathematical algorithm that analyses the patterns of traffic formation and traffic resolution, NTU’s Hongliang Guo and colleagues write, "Our objective is to maximise the probability that none of the network links encounters a traffic breakdown." In other words, the computer scientists at NTU have come up with a programme that runs in real time, which can learn over time how traffic flows, common bottlenecks, peak times and rush hours. The use of such a programme can result in the eventual re-routing of cars in order to reduce the overall congestion. This algorithm can reduce the probability of crashes, and as an added bonus it reduces the probability of traffic from even forming in the first place.
It seems that the times of spending unnecessarily long hours stuck in traffic are coming to an end. Egypt is on the global top ten list of worst traffic condition, if such a technology is implemented with a proper infrastructure to support it here, the new algorithm could mean an end to the time Egyptians spend in traffic, and additionally it gives a glimpse towards a future with safer roads.