Saturday, March 11, 2006

Traffic Pattern Analysis via Cell Phone

As long as I'm cranking up the posting meter...

A friend of Ted's spotted this one. The idea's been around for a while, I think, and someone finally got around to implementing it: count the number of handovers and number of phones in a particular cell, and you can estimate the traffic on the roads. Piggybacks on existing technology, doesn't require new hardware, and doesn't have to raise privacy concerns if done properly, either. It's a win. Without more directly tapping into the (rapidly increasing) ability to track the exact location of specific cell phones, the granularity of data and location is a little large, but this is such a straightforward hack (in the original, best sense of the word) with clear benefits for almost no effort that it should be a no-brainer.

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