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Rob Laubacher

Jan 16, 2013
06:51

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Very interesting idea. Your proposal looks to be focused primarily on machine-based sensing and computers, but I wonder if there might also be a potential role for greater use of human intelligence in managing traffic at intersections. I have seen several articles recently describing experiments to remove traffic lights and allow motorists to self-manage traffic flow through intersections. Here is one: http://www.treehugger.com/cars/traffic-lights-replaced-bycourtesy.html This may not be feasible in massive mega cities, but to me, such examples of human self-management of traffic raise the question of how sensors and computer power might be combined with great reliance on human intelligence. Not sure there are any easy answers, but I thought it worth posing the question, especially since the notion of combining machine and human intelligence is one of the central research perspectives behind the Center for Collective Intelligence http://cci.mit.edu, the organization that launched the Climate Colab.

Carlos Gershenson

Jan 16, 2013
07:50

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Thanks for the relevant comment. Indeed, removing traffic lights or using roundabouts can be more effective than traffic lights, but only for low traffic areas, e.g. residential neighborhoods. If you have more than one lane per street, roundabouts are less efficient than (self-organizing) traffic lights. Most traffic flows through few big avenues in few big cities. This is why implementing relatively few but relevant intersections can have such a big impact. Roundabouts are also worth pursuing, but you have to implement several orders of magnitude more in residential neighbourhoods to get the same effect, simply because less vehicles use them.

2013transportationjudges 2013transportationjudges

Jul 8, 2013
06:55

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The judges for the Transport Efficiency contest have selected this proposal as a finalist! Here are some of their comments on the proposal: - An interesting and realistic concept which, although limited to the existing transport system, derives its climate change impacts by improving flow at intersections. - The idea seems to have co-benefits besides the reduction of carbon emissions (for instance, time savings), which help to reduce the total cost to society of the emissions reductions. - There seems to be existing work on this topic by a group at ETH Zurich and perhaps elsewhere (see D. Helbing in 2007). The proposal would be improved by addressing the ways in which this work is similar or different, and whether a possible patent application by that group affects the feasibility of deployment. The judges also want to emphasize that they will pay particular attention for the following elements when selecting a Judges' Choice winner from among the Transport Efficiency finalists: - An attempt, even if not exhaustive, at an analysis of the costs and benefits of the proposal. - References for assumptions, claims and numerical figures in the proposal or cost-benefit analysis. - Brevity and focus in the proposal statement; an economy of words.

Carlos Gershenson

Jul 10, 2013
12:15

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Thank you for the comments, these have been addressed in the latest version of the proposal.

2013transportationjudges 2013transportationjudges

Jul 29, 2013
04:30

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Team addressed similarity between their proposal and the patented one from ETH Zurich, though in clarifying this difference they seem to have followed the principle of least effort, which was a bit disappointing. We would have hoped for a greater effort. They will need to demonstrate value more rigorously if they are going to secure private investment funding.

Carlos Gershenson

Jul 31, 2013
11:13

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It is difficult to balance brevity and clarity, hope to improve in the future.

Mike Armas

Aug 7, 2013
04:58

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I saw this project born at 1988 !

Mike Armas

Aug 7, 2013
04:30

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1998...

Salvador Lozano

Aug 22, 2013
09:15

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Good proposal. It would work nicely if combined with other actions, like increasing massive transportation systems. In the long run, many developing countries (such as Mexico) need to develop several new, modern cities in order to alleviate the hypertrophy of just two or three megacities. Of course, the new cities should have this kind of self-organizing traffic lights from the beginning.

Carlos Gershenson

Aug 22, 2013
09:15

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Totally agree. This action cannot solve by itself all the urban mobility problems, it has to be combined with many other actions to develop more efficient public transportation, promotion of alternative means of transport, and finally a reduction the travel needs of people.
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