Google's Arterial Traffic Data Makes Us More Efficient, Or Does It?
To make planning your next trip across the city a little smoother, Google Maps has implemented live traffic information for arterial roads. The service uses GPS enabled smart phones with the Google Maps application to crowdsource its data. With many devices telling HQ how fast they are traveling, a fairly accurate picture of where congestion is or isn't can be presented. The ability to view traffic history also makes it easier to predict future conditions.
Tools like this make life easier, but there are concerns that if large numbers of drivers all try to optimize their route at once, even more traffic can ensue. The mathematical formula of Braess's Paradox has shown that adding capacity to a network in which all the moving entities rationally seek the most efficient route can sometimes reduce the network’s overall efficiency.