How much time and energy do you and I, and the rest of the increasingly urban mankind waste behind the wheel during rush hours? A lot!

In 2017, the average Los Angeles driver reportedly wasted 119 hours stuck in traffic, and we may assume that the figure is even higher today. The same year, the average for the 15 most congested US cities was 83 hours. Slightly better than 119 for sure, but still a massive loss of time as well as Quality of Life, not to mention the environmental aspects.

The 10 worst bottlenecks

In Europe, Paris seems to be stuck in a similar situation, more so than the largest cities in Germany and UK. According to one Scorecard report, commuters in the metropolitan Paris area waste some 70 hours per year in traffic.

Hans Puvogel is General Manager of INRIX Europe, a leading provider of transportation analytics. He claims that eight of Europe’s ten worst traffic bottlenecks are in the Paris/Isle de France region. In contrast, French traffic outside of metropolitan Paris isn’t nearly as bad as in some other European countries.

Besides eons of time, billions of dollars and euros are wasted on fuel, not to mention the immense environmental consequences.


Intelligent solutions

On a more constructive note: what can we do about it? So far, carpools and public transport may have helped to avoid even worse traffic problems, but the current situation clearly calls for new big-picture solutions, such as diversified urban development and more effective traffic management systems.

Many believe that the single most important tool to ease up queueing and traffic congestions will be traffic management systems driven by artificial intelligence (AI).

In fact, it’s already happening. China is probably facing greater traffic challenges than any other country on earth. But after implementing an AI solution Hangzhou, one of the most congested cities with 7 million people, was able to radically mitigate the traffic problems.

Awaiting autonomous vehicles and other more or less futuristic solutions, major cities around the world have already developed and applied systems to control and coordinate traffic lights, drawbridges, and public transportation.

AI- and ML-driven platforms are explored to enable vehicle operators to plan, deploy, and manage services using any type or brand of vehicle. This coordination of vehicle flows allows mobility providers to offer the services that travelers need and want, including ride-hailing, robotaxi, micro-transit, and autonomous shuttles. Whatever is required for people to get from A to B in the smartest, most convenient, and time-efficient way.

Artificial Intelligence at work, making our cities a bit more Human.

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