Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a new wireless system called RoadRunner that uses GPS like turn-by-turn directions to route drivers around congested roadways.
In simulations using data supplied by Singapore’s Land Transit Authority, the researchers compared their system to one currently in use in Singapore, which charges drivers with dashboard-mounted transponders a toll for entering congested areas.
The Singapore system gauges drivers’ locations with radio transmitters mounted on dozens of gantries scattered around the city, like the gantries used in many US wireless toll systems.
RoadRunner, by contrast, uses only handheld devices clipped to cars’ dashboards.
Nonetheless, in the simulations, it yielded an eight percent increase in average car speed during periods of peak congestion.
“With our system, you can draw a polygon on the map and say, ‘I want this entire region to be controlled’,” said Jason Gao, a graduate student in electrical engineering and computer science.
“You could do one thing for a month and test it out and then change it without having to dig up roads or rebuild gantries,” he added.
With his advisor Li-Shiuan Peh, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science, Gao also tested their system on 10 cars in Cambridge, Massachusetts to evaluate the efficiency of the communications system and of the vehicle-routing algorithm.
It also provided reliable data about the system’s performance for use in simulations.