On February 8, 2008, about 100 UC Berkeley students will participate in the Mobile Century experiment, using GPS mobile phones as traffic sensors.
During the whole day, these students carrying the GPS-equipped Nokia
N95 will drive along a 10-mile stretch of I-880 between Hayward and
Fremont, California. ‘The phones will store the vehicles’ speed and
position information every 3 seconds. These measurements will be sent
wirelessly to a server for real-time processing.’


The convergence of communication and multi-media platforms has enabled a
key capability: mobility tracking via GPS. Business plans of most major cellular
phone manufacturers such as Nokia include embedding GPS in all manufactured cell
phones within less than 18 months. Thus, a high penetration rate of GPS-equipped
travelers on freeways is expected in the near future. This has major
implications for the traffic engineering community, which currently monitors
traffic using mostly fixed sensors such as cameras and loop detectors, or
location specific sensors such as FasTrak or EZ-pass transponders.

Soon, using universally available equipped cell phones, a new category of
location-based services will become possible: multi-modal travel time estimation
for commuters using bikes, busses, cars, or trains; itinerary advisories for
navigation; geolocalization and context aware applications for social networks;
cell phone based monitoring applications for epidemiology in developing

This seminar will present a prototype of location-based service: real-time
traffic monitoring using cellular phones only. The seminar will take place while
the field experiment "Using GPS Mobile Phones as Traffic Sensors" is in progress:
100 vehicles carrying a GPS-equipped Nokia N95 cell phone will drive along a
10-mile stretch of I-880 between Hayward and Fremont, California.

These vehicles are estimated to constitute up to 5% of the traffic
traveling along this section, a penetration rate that adequately represents the
potential of the market for GPS-equipped cell phones in the near future. The
data obtained in the experiment will be processed in real time and broadcasted
to the seminar, so attendees can monitor the experiment in real time. Travel
time and velocity contour estimates will be shown in real time. The seminar will
cover the algorithms which are used for traffic velocity field reconstructions
and travel time assessment. We will also present the privacy-preserving
architecture developed jointly with Nokia to provide this new location-based
service in an environment acceptable to users and participants. Finally, we will
give an overview of potential new applications of mobility tracking via
GPS-equipped cell phones, in the context of transportation engineering, and more
broadly intelligent infrastructure systems.

Via Mobile Century