Streamlining Traffic Through Biology

Have you ever seen blood vessels operate? Blood cells move through 60 billion miles worth of channels seamlessly without every stopping or colliding. Every single cell manages to receive its share of nutrition and oxygen when the need arises. Imagine this kind of communication and fluency on our roads daily.

According to Wanis Kabbaj’s TED Talk, highway gridlock can only be solved by mimicking biology. Blood is a collective medium and yet comprised of individual entities. This uniqueness if replicated on our roads will have the same effect. With blood, the blood cells are not exclusive to specific organs but are simply a transport medium that goes across the entire body.

Our traffic today however is individualistic but not a collective entity. It can be made more collective by using intelligent systems that communicate with one another. Vast strides are already being made with respect to this. Cars that can speak with one another, observe obstacles, read intersections are all excellent ideas. However, a truly automated grid city will have every vehicle self-driven. What this allows is for instantaneous information for each vehicle about its surroundings.

The end result of such precision movement and holistic awareness will be ten folds. There will no longer be a need for traffic lights and speed bumps. Traffic will begin flowing at much higher speeds, like on the Autobahn. Next, instead of buses and cars, almost all vehicles can be shared or at the very least connect with one another to form longer wagons that detach based on the destination. This will reduce the number of vehicles on road and help counter global warming. And finally, the biggest problem of searching for a parking space is solved because cars will be aware of which spot is open for it, closest to its destination and can reserve them in advance.

As cars become more intelligent, it is only natural that traffic congestions become less. In fact, the only congestions possible then is by the humans these smart cars carry. Another proposition from Kabbaj is to learn how blood moves in a 3D environment. He says currently our traffic is more two dimensional but if we could use the underground more, the air above us and the roads together, congestion will be a thing of the past – especially for cities that are fully developed and cannot expand any further its internal roadways.

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