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GPS cell phones plot, predict trafficWith the popularity of GPS-enabled cell phones, it makes sense to use that mapping technology to plot traffic speeds. A new UC Berkeley and Nokia pilot program tests out the tech in the San Francisco Bay Area, where CNET's Kara Tsuboi gives it a spin.
[ Music ] ^M00:00:05 >>[Background music] Getting stuck in traffic stinks. Thanks to sites like Google Maps, Yahoo, Microsoft Live Maps, Dash.net among others, drivers have a handful of resources to warn them of possible slowdowns. Mobile Millennium, a new pilot project in the San Francisco bay area hopes to provide the most accurate traffic info yet relying on the GPS data from your cell phone. >>[Background music] The beauty of this is that you don't have to put the [inaudible]. So basically what you can do is you put just lines on a map virtually and when you pass it by GPS, you just record it like as you would be passing a physical line except that you can put them anywhere, as many as you want and this way you don't have to spend all the billings on the roads. >>[Background music] The study launched November 10th in partnership between UC Berkley, Nokia, The California Center for Innovative Transportation and a hand full of others. >>[Background music] So what exactly did Berkley contribute to this traffic project? >>[Background music] We're building the algorithms, the methods that takes these distributed measurements and make it into some meaningful information for the public. >>[Background music] UC Berkley and Nokia lent us this phone so we can participate in this public study. Dan is helping me get the right software onto my phone. What's the next step Dan? >>[Background noise] Within a few minutes you should receive a SNS message that will contain a link to the plan. >>[Background noise] Oh, it's buzzing. If you live in the San Francisco bay area, you too can participate. Log on to traffic.berkley.edu to sign up for free. >>[Background noise] And there's the traffic information live on the phone. >>[Background noise] So we're good to go. >>[Background noise] Yes. >>[Background noise] Awesome. Thanks Dan. >>[Background noise] Your welcome. >>[Background noise] Cool, let's go driving. >>[Background music] See this little blue dot, that is where we are on the map right now. I'm about to get on the freeway and really while I'm driving, I don't have to do a single thing. The phone is on, the GPS is activated and basically as I travel along the highway, my phone is just going to be sending back data as to where I am and how fast I'm going. All those smart UC Berkley kids and their algorithms will plot it on the map and provide accurate traffic data for other drivers. >>[Background noise] We gather data in a privacy preserving environment. We do not store your information; we encrypt your information when it sends and the information we fuse with other data source cannot be linked back to you. >>[Background music] Here at the Cal Trans Traffic Management Center, operators are monitoring the data from more than 300 cameras strategically placed in the bay area. Now, one of the benefits of the mobile millennium study is that it will provide traffic speed data in areas that the camera simply cannot access like rural roads or more arterial roads. [Background noise] What we're trying to do is we're trying to get information to the traveling public that's reliable and up to date and we think that an informed traveler is a safe and efficient traveler. [Background noise] To participate you don't have to have a Nokia phone. Any phone that has GPS and can run Java applications will work but you do need to live in the bay area. I'm Cara Sue Boyd, cnet.com. ^M00:03:01 [ Music ]