We’ve have all been in one either as a driver or as a passenger a traffic jam. Sometimes they are caused by an accidents, but many times the cause seems to be a complete mystery. These are known as shock wave traffic jams and are often caused by drivers braking or slowing down causing a ripple effect behind them. Most of the time they clear out quickly but they create a wave-like an effect, traffic bunching up, than clearing out, then bunching up again.
Scientist had known about this phenomenon for quite a while, however finding a solution has been much more difficult. Changing people’s habits is never easy especially when they don’t think they are doing anything wrong. Someday we may have driverless cars like the one Google is testing, but until that day Honda is trying something different.
Honda is trying a system that encourages drivers to change their habits by a system of color codes. Honda hopes to use these color codes to help the driver drive more smoothly. This will help cars behind it from bunching up. At this time the system is single car only, but they do hope to link it to the cloud so cars can talk to each other. Right now in initial test the average speed increased 13 percent and fuel savings by 5 percent. This system will also help to prevent a lot of fender benders. They plan to do further testing in Italy and Indonesia before they release the system commercially.
The biggest trouble with this system remains the human dimension, after all the system will only work if the driver follows the suggestions. Right now the system is set up so that the benefit for the drivers behind the person using the system. The more cars the system is installed in and the more people follow the suggestions the better traffic will flow.