Traffic with the Weather

Apr 1, 2000 6:00 AMNov 12, 2019 4:16 AM


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

Morning newscasters give a fairly accurate prediction of the day's weather. Wouldn't it be nice if they could also give forecasts of traffic jams? Civil engineer John Leonard of the Georgia Institute of Technology has created a set of computer programs to do just that.

Leonard collects car speeds from automated roadway cameras and feeds the numbers into the program, which turns them into color-coded maps showing how long it takes to travel from a given starting point to more than 5,000 destinations. He has also created a database summarizing the past two years of traffic speeds. When this database is combined with information on current happenings, such as special events in town or holidays, Leonard can anticipate what commuters should prepare for.

Leonard expresses traffic on a numerical scale. An open interstate would rate a 30, while heavy congestion might rate a 100. Many people could leave for work 15 minutes earlier, if they knew they were facing a messy drive. That small change, he says, could decrease congestion and frustration.

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Discover Magazine Logo
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!


Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

To The Magazine

Save up to 40% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2024 Kalmbach Media Co.