London: For a few lucky drivers in San Francisco, traffic could soon be a thing of the past.
Soon to be at their disposal is an intelligent transportation system to peer into the future and receive warnings of traffic jams before they occur, allowing them to change their route or timing.
The Smarter Traveler Research Initiative blends real-time traffic data with past traffic patterns to predict congestion up to 40 minutes into the future, reports New Scientist.
The initiative is a joint project by the California Center for Innovative Transportation (CCIT) at the University of California, Berkeley, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and IBM.
"If you are already on the road and a sign says ``congestion next 5 miles`` you may have very few options," says Naveen Lamba of IBM.
"But if you get that information prior to starting your journey, you can choose to stay at home, work late or take a different route,” he added.
IBM``s initiative combines existing traffic data from road sensors with users`` individual travel histories, gathered from GPS data.
Based on this data, a prediction model determines the best route to take and the estimated travel time.
Before the commute begins, users can get e-mails and text messages of conditions on their regular commute before their trip begins.