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Know Your Roads: Cities Opt for AI to Relieve Congestion

Charlotte Pearlstone, Communications MGR, Mobility Insights [Mobi LLC]Charlotte Pearlstone, Communications MGR,Mobility Insights [Mobi LLC]
Charlotte is Communications Manager at Mobility Insight (Mobi) where she shapes the smart mobility conversation, sharing the innovative efforts of Mobi’s many projects. Prior to joining Mobi she worked with 365x Scale Up, an Israeli accelerator program, where she established their US arm and partnered with cutting edge Israeli technologies looking to scale into the US market. She is a native New Yorker and received her Bachelors from McGill University in Montreal.

BETTER TOGETHER: HOW CITIES CAN INTEGRATE AI TO UNLOCK THE GRID

The world of traffic management is in dire need of an update. Despite being in the midst of a technological revolution in 2020, road congestion remains on the rise due to growing populations, ineffective traffic signal timing and a lack of real-time data. As novel traffic navigation apps are providing traffic assistance for drivers, cities and businesses that maintain these road networks continue to rely on 30 year old technology with unsatisfactory results. According to traffic consulting firm INRIX, congestion cost the US $305 billion in 2017 from lost productivity due to workers sitting in traffic, transportation of goods through gridlocked areas, as well as wasted fuel and air pollution. Given the physical and financial cost around transforming infrastructure, cities will require smart innovative solutions.

At Mobility Insight (Mobi) we’ve been leading the transition to a universally accessible AI-powered traffic management software solution for cities and businesses. Our mission is to equip every city small or large with the capability to easily measure how well their road networks are performing, predict where/why congestion will occur, and prevent congestion before it emerges. This is a vast improvement over the highly manual and reactive traffic management processes traffic authorities follow today.
At this moment, over 80% of US cities cannot accurately measure the performance of their road networks or predict congestion at all, so we are bridging this gap by enabling them to use our platform to establish a “virtual” traffic management center (vTMC) to optimize traffic flow. Using our vTMC, cities and businesses that would otherwise manage their interconnected roads independently, can now coordinate with each other to unlock the grid.

In essence, our TMaaS platform achieves >30% reduction in congestion across any road network or area within it (i.e. stadiums, seaports, convention centers). We’re taking the reliability of public utilities like electricity or water and applying it to road networks so that mobility “just works” the way it should for cities.

PRODUCT FLEXIBILITY: SOCIAL DISTANCING AND CROWD TRACKING TOOLS

When it was first determined that COVID-19 presented a real and significant threat to our communities, Mobi leveraged its expertise in the smart mobility space to equip the State of Israel with an advanced SaaS-based social distancing analytics tool which maps the movement of people and the gathering of crowds. Aptly named Mobi Safe Streets, our social distancing platform enables governments to detect unusually large crowds in real-time. Specifically, our platform is capable of autonomously detecting crowds of 50 people or more and will scan thousands of grouping events every 15 min.

When a crowd is detected that deviates from “normal behavior,” (ex., protests,funerals, parties), Mobi Safe Streets will alert public safety personnel regarding where and when a crowd is formed so that necessary action can be taken to minimize virus flare ups and keep our streets safe. Moreover, our AI uses machine learning to understand normal population behavior and recognise changing behavior patterns from data, all while avoiding false positives due to tall buildings, essential workers, critical workforce, and hospitals.

As of March, our platform provides Israel with precise insights into how their population follows social distancing guidelines and identifies where additional enforcement is needed to slow the spread of the virus. With our support, Israel is successfully “flattening the curve” and we are proud to play a role in this continued effort.

CONGESTED: AN INFLUX OF TRAFFIC IN A COVID WORLD

As states within the US begin to reopen their borders and loosen lockdown restrictions, our cities will face new challenges with mobility. The question of how to travel safely and efficiently sits at the core of these immediate challenges. Future projections expect that an explosion in private vehicle usage will become part of our “new normal” as commuters will eschew ride-sharing and public transport due to health concerns involving mass transit. In addition, COVID-19 has underlined crucial weaknesses in our healthcare system that are likely mirrored in our transportation system, so it is imperative that cities establish sufficient resiliency plans to prepare for events like floods triggering mass evacuation or potential gridlock on road networks. For these reasons, Mobi is committed to providing reliable insight into how cities must optimize their mobility services moving forward as we believe there will be an increased need for cities and businesses to understand their traffic patterns and better manage their road networks should these predictions come to fruition. As of April, we have secured a partnership with a Fortune 500 company to distribute our services to state and local governments throughout the US.
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