A simple idea to solve a global problem.
As we all know, congestion is a global problem, affecting our environment, economy and health. Here are some facts:
Drivers in Mumbai can expect an additional 65% extra travel time, stuck in gridlock, according to a study in 2018.
Congestion cost U.S. drivers nearly $305 billion in 2017, an average of $1,445 per driver.
Congestion is rapidly increasing in mega-cities around the world, and such a problem is unsustainable in the long term.
To combat this, I came up with the Dash concept — a service to centrally co-ordinate drivers, with an adaptive routing system to spread out and minimise congestion.
How would Dash help?
Consider a football match. Many excited fans from around the city, set off to see the game. Google Maps shows them the fastest route possible, with present traffic conditions taken into account. With similar set off times, they all get stuck in traffic.
These are all solo operations — there is no co-ordination between users who request a route from Google Maps.
Using Dash generated routes, which would dynamically vary for different users, the flow of traffic would be managed efficiently to reduce the build up of congestion, by taking a longer route and utilising smaller roads where necessary. When there is no congestion or possibility of congestion build up, the fastest route will be given. Drivers would be given reward points corresponding to the detour, to make up for the extra travel time.
Dash can help prepare users beforehand, taking upcoming events such as a football match into account, by generating routes that reduce the possibility of future congestion build up.
As Dash usage expands, this central co-ordination will result in efficient traffic flow, by spreading out congestion.
How does it work?
Here is concept flow diagram of how Dash could theoretically work:
A user request triggers a series of server-less processes — with such a setup scalability won’t be an issue, with increased usage.
A trained machine learning model will take in traffic density predictions, as well as nearby Dash routes and user locations, to dynamically generate a new route, with the aim of spreading out congestion and encourage traffic flow.
The Reward System
Powering Dash usage would be the reward system, through partnerships with popular brands to offer discounts, cashback etc.
Along with the feel-good factor from knowing you’re paving the way for a more sustainable future.
In the long-term, Dash has great scope for development. Partnerships with ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft, would mean more co-ordination — recent studies show that ride-share apps are aggravating rush-hour gridlock in downtown San Francisco.
Looking towards the future, with rapid developments in the self-driving industry, autonomous fleets can be centrally co-ordinated, such as Tesla’s planned Robotaxi network. This will greatly help in optimising the flow of traffic, to minimise congestion. For those with time priority, an additional premium can be charged.
Dash can be seamlessly integrated with Google Maps, its present infrastructure and user base, which gives rise to possible collaboration.
Here is an app prototype, demonstrating some of Dash’s core functionality.
We need to make our cities more sustainable for the long-term, and I believe a service like Dash will greatly alleviate the harmful impacts of congestion.
I pitched the Dash concept at CogX London 2019, as part of the TeensInAI London Hack (Acorn Aspirations), which was one of the winning ideas. However, I strongly believe Dash could also become a reality in the future.
Thank you for reading — please share your thoughts on Dash below. 👍