German researchers have found that just five cars in a thousand communicating with one another is all it takes to reduce congestion.
That may not sound like a whole lot of automobiles, but it is sufficiently representative of traffic flow to allow traffic engineers to determine how best to manage traffic and alleviate rush-hour jams and construction delays. The finding comes as German officials prepare to roll out a vehicle-to-vehicle communication to alleviate traffic congestion and a growing number of automakers explore the technology.
“Location-specific traffic information and warnings in real time can help to remedy this, while simultaneously increasing road safety,” said Nick Reilly, president of General Motors Europe, which participated in the research. “Less congestion means less wasted time, reduced fuel consumption and lower CO2 emissions.”
The finding was the result of research in Europe’s Dynamic Information and Application for Mobility with Adaptive Networks and Telematics Infrastructure (DIAMANT) program. The findings were presented at a conference celebrating the 20th anniversary of the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association.
Already, DIAMANT has been instrumental in the Jam-Free Hesse 2015 initiative, which seeks to reduce traffic jams in the German state where Frankfurt is the capital. Though those in the United States tend to imagine Germany as a model of automotive efficiency, with Audis, Benzes and Porsches whizzing along autobahns at unfettered speeds, a study by ADAC — Germany’s version of AAA — found traffic congestion costs the German economy $425 million dollars daily in lost time and fuel.