Engadget: Google turns its AI on traffic lights to reduce pollution

Engadget: Google turns its AI on traffic lights to reduce pollution. “Google has run pilots at four locations in Israel to date, in partnership with the municipalities of Haifa, Beer-Sheva and the Israel National Roads Company. The company says it’s observed a ’10 to 20 percent reduction in fuel and intersection delay time’ so far. Google didn’t share any details on the average daily traffic in those intersections, though a video clip from the event showed a fairly busy junction. The company also didn’t explain how the AI would work with current systems and the lights around specific intersections.”

WDBJ: New website tracks traffic stops in Virginia

WDBJ: New website tracks traffic stops in Virginia. “With each traffic stop, state law requires the officer to collect, and the law enforcement agency to report, several pieces of information, including: the race, ethnicity and gender of the person who was stopped, the reason for the traffic stop and whether or not the officer, or the citizen, used physical force. Anyone can view the statistics online, and officials with the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services are now analyzing the data collected so far.”

Ars Technica: Traffic congestion dropped by 73 percent in 2020 due to the pandemic

Ars Technica: Traffic congestion dropped by 73 percent in 2020 due to the pandemic. “In 2020, the average US driver spent 26 hours stuck in traffic. While that’s still more than a day, it’s a steep decline from pre-pandemic times; in 2019 the average American sacrificed 99 hours to traffic jams. Around the world, it’s a similar story. German drivers averaged an identical 26 hours of traffic in 2020, down from 46 the year before. In the UK, 2019 sounded positively awful, with 115 hours in traffic jams. At least one thing improved for that island nation in 2020: its drivers only spent 37 hours stationary in their cars.”

Wired: An Artist Used 99 Phones to Fake a Google Maps Traffic Jam

Wired: An Artist Used 99 Phones to Fake a Google Maps Traffic Jam. “ALMOST THREE YEARS ago, artist Simon Weckert noticed something unusual at a May Day demonstration in Berlin: Google Maps showed there was a massive traffic jam, even though there were zero cars on the road. Soon enough, Weckert realized that it was the mass of people, or more specifically their smartphones, that had inadvertently tricked Google into seeing gridlock on an empty street. And then he decided to do it himself.”

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory: New Machine Learning Tool Tracks Urban Traffic Congestion

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory: New Machine Learning Tool Tracks Urban Traffic Congestion. “Currently, publicly available traffic information at the street level is sparse and incomplete. Traffic engineers generally have relied on isolated traffic counts, collision statistics and speed data to determine roadway conditions. The new tool uses traffic datasets collected from UBER drivers and other publicly available traffic sensor data to map street-level traffic flow over time. It creates a big picture of city traffic using machine learning tools and the computing resources available at a national laboratory.”

Plague Comforts: Empty Streets (Mother Jones)

Mother Jones: Plague Comforts: Empty Streets. “After the coronavirus paralyzed New York City in March, the only part of my life that became more pleasant was riding my bike. For a moment, empty streets replaced cars parked in bike lanes, cars running red lights, cars blaring their horns for no discernible reason. On most days when I rode, I felt free. I no longer envisioned myself ensnared in the wheels of a box truck or flattened against the pavement by a charter bus that had run a red. Instead, I entertained myself, in this socially distanced reality, by riding to Rockaway Beach, or Kissena Park, or eerily silent Times Square with a clear mind.”

Exclusive: U.S. traffic deaths fell after coronavirus lockdown, but drivers got riskier (WTVB)

WTVB: Exclusive: U.S. traffic deaths fell after coronavirus lockdown, but drivers got riskier. “The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found the fatality rate jumped to 1.42 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in the three months ending June 30, the highest since 2005. At the same time, overall traffic deaths fell by 3.3% to 8,870 while U.S. driving fell by about 26%, or 302 fewer over the same period in 2019, according to the report reviewed by Reuters.”

Neowin: Google’s Waze lays off five percent of its staff

Neowin: Google’s Waze lays off five percent of its staff. “Waze said the layoffs were partly due to COVID-19, which has emptied roadways globally after many cities were placed into lockdown. Due to the restrictions, many began working from home, and thus, fewer people used the navigation service for declining needs. Waze measures its usage by monthly active users or the number of customers using the app monthly and driven kilometers. Both metrics have seen a dip in recent months.’

CNET: Here’s how Google Maps uses AI to predict traffic and calculate routes

CNET: Here’s how Google Maps uses AI to predict traffic and calculate routes. “On Thursday, Google shared how it uses artificial intelligence for its Maps app to predict what traffic will look like throughout the day and the best routes its users should take. The tech giant said it analyzes historical traffic patterns for roads over time and combines the database with live traffic conditions to generate predictions.”

Pew: Speeders Take Over Empty Roads — With Fatal Consequences

Pew: Speeders Take Over Empty Roads — With Fatal Consequences. “Daily vehicle traffic dropped by two-thirds nationally from March 1 through April 10, according to StreetLight Data, a San Francisco-based traffic analytics company. And while many states, such as California and Ohio, have seen a reduction in overall crashes during the pandemic compared with last year, some are reporting a jump in traffic fatalities that they say is linked to speeding or reckless driving.”

Crashes Down: Real-Time Data Shows Stay-at-Home Orders May Be Saving Lives in More Ways Than One (California Streets Blog)

California Streets Blog: Crashes Down: Real-Time Data Shows Stay-at-Home Orders May Be Saving Lives in More Ways Than One. “Researchers at UC Davis’ Road Ecology Center are using real-time collision report data from the California Highway Patrol to measure and compare crash rates during the stay-at-home orders. The preliminary report [PDF] finds that collisions have reduced by half since the order went into effect on March 20, from about 1,000 collisions per day a year ago to about 500 per day, and from about 400 injury or fatal crashes per day to about 200. The data is from state highways, which in some cases are freeways and rural roads but can also be main streets.”

Hindustan: This user ‘hacked’ Google Maps traffic flow in an entire area with 99 smartphones

Hindustan Times: This user ‘hacked’ Google Maps traffic flow in an entire area with 99 smartphones. “We often hear apps and services being hacked or breached resulting in user data sharing without consent. But the latest ‘hack’ found on Google Maps is quite an unusual one. It doesn’t leak your personal information to others or breach your smartphone but simply messes with the traffic information that Maps shows you. The ‘hack’ also shows how easy it is to change the traffic flow and indirectly make millions in the area take a different route.”