The routes we take make traffic jams worse infopost.jpgWhen we drive in urban areas, we all tend to decide which route we are going to drinking based on “selfish” criteria, and without realizing it, we increase traffic congestion and travel time around the world. The document “Understanding congested travel in urban areas”, carried out jointly by researchers from the University of Birmingham (England) and MIT (USA), concludes that the technology could subtly persuade drivers to diversify their routes to decongest traffic and make the traffic easier. average time behind the wheel less. The counterpart? That some drivers would have to take slower routes and put themselves at a disadvantage for the greater good.

The study examined the way millions of drivers get around in Boston, San Francisco, Rio de Janeiro, Lisbon and Porto, and was able to see that drivers are increasingly using real-time information on their devices GPS to move faster. However, real-time traffic information is not coordinated between different services and users, resulting in a “sub-optimal system”. The researchers calculate that if users were to follow “socially optimized” routes, short urban commute times would be reduced on average by between one and three minutes at the individual level, but at the city level, time lost in traffic jams would be reduced by one. 30%.

Based on the study models, the number of drivers who would suffer taking slower routes would be relatively small, and the authors propose possible incentives for drivers who choose to sacrifice, such as gamification systems integrated into their navigation apps. What remains to be weighed is the potential benefit of coordinating and optimizing car routes compared to the impact of improving public transport systems and infrastructures for cyclists and pedestrians.