How road traffic data is changing the way we travel
It’s no secret that traffic congestion across the world is increasing. In the UK alone, recent figures  have shown that journeys can take up to 56% longer to complete in peak travel times when compared to uncongested conditions. With some of the country’s vital roads experiencing gridlock for up to 35 hours each week, it’s clear that steps need to be taken to reduce blockages before the situation spirals even further out of control.
But the only answer doesn’t lay in building new roads or even widening existing ones. There is, in fact, a much simpler, existing option already being used by some of the world’s most savvy motorists to help them get from A to B in the quickest and most cost-effective way possible.
To date, it has been difficult to gain clear insight into estimated road traffic throughout the day, but technological developments and more advanced traffic solutions now allow drivers to take greater control of their journeys. INRIX provides automotive-, cell- and web-based navigation and location-based applications, which means we can deliver instant, real-time data to huge volumes of drivers at any given time. With INRIX’s technology, users have access to instant traffic flow information and can map out the fastest route to follow at any time of day. In addition, because INRIX’s data is real-time, it takes into account incidents on the road as soon as they happen and update the driver’s journey accordingly.
But INRIX is much more than a route planner: we also support car manufacturers and suppliers looking for ‘green’ aspects in their technology – an area that is becoming increasingly important, especially following recent EU’s regulations requiring new vehicles to have a carbon footprint under 120mg. Our eco technology enables drivers to discover how environmentally friendly their routes are based on the number of stops, gradient and the amount of CO2 their vehicle will emit during the journey.
We also provide technology-support systems and data insight for fleet management companies, which enables them to determine the most cost-effective time of day to make a journey. Based on our data, fleets can offer their customers flexible payment options and cheaper estimates for more cost-efficient deliveries based of the time of day a journey is made. If cost estimates directly mirror the behavior on the roads, it would be safe to say with this approach road congestion could be significantly reduced, if not relieved.
By taking control of the situation and offering transparent pricing to customers, fleets are likely to experience a shift in their working day, perhaps by shifting the hours that their fleets are on the road. By doing this, a fleet could expect to experience a reduction in its overheads, reduce time on the road and perhaps even free up more time to take on additional projects in conventional ‘busy periods’.
There’s still a long way to go before we alleviate the road traffic management issues faced in the UK and the rest of the western world, but if we are to make inroads into tackling the areas discussed, we need to take greater control of when and how we travel. Inevitably, both consumers and businesses alike will always have time sensitive requirements; whether it be the weekday commute into work for employees, or delivering goods and services by a certain time for business, but by providing greater insight into cost implications and the impact on the environment smarter alternatives can be found and cost savings made.
 INRIX Traffic Scorecard data, November 2010
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