A bad traffic jam tests the patience of even the most leveled-headed drivers. But the state of New Jersey has found a way to use big data and analytics to make nerve-racking, bumper-to-bumper rides a thing of the past.
By teaming up with software startup Inrix, a traffic management center in Woodbridge, N.J., leverages the massive amounts of data produced by drivers' smartphones and GPS signals for realtime monitoring of traffic conditions. According to a story from the Wall Street Journal, the center has a 22-foot mounted screen that displays up-to-date traffic information for 2,600 miles of state roads.
Apparently, this high-end analytics engine has already paid off; after noticing a huge stretch of stopped traffic on Interstate 80 caused by an overturned car, New Jersey officials were able to respond faster than ever, and had the accident cleared within 30 minutes. Without the data, they said, the accident could have sat for hours.