Someone recently told me “In order to get more ideas, you need to get the existing ideas out of your head so that the brain gets empty space to generate and store new ideas”. I strongly feel there’s some truth to it. What else could explain the fact that I instantly forget everything after the exam gets over.
So, from now on I’ll try and get all the things out of my head and dump it here to make space for the new ones.
A few days ago, I and some of my friends participated in a Make In India Hackathon. We had to select a theme out of the three given options (Water, Electricity and Transportation) and solve the problem related to that theme.
After a slight discussion, all of us decided to go with the Transportation theme. For the first round we just had to give them a presentation which would include our solution for the given problem, how we are going to implement it, what are the requirements, the success metrics,etc.
Since we got to know about this just one day before, so whatever idea came in our mind first, we started working on it without much contemplation. After 5 hours of discussion and continuous googling (since none of us were good at the tech we would be requiring for our solution), we finally sent the presentation to the organizers.
Obviously we didn’t make it to the second round, where only top 10 teams were selected. But it was a day well spent where we actually spent our time thinking about real world problems and their possible solutions.
The Problem Statement
“Simple, innovative and implementable solutions to enhance safety and mobility of all road users at road intersections. An ideal road intersection should cater the needs of all pedestrians such as children, youth, adults, senior citizens, specially-abled persons, etc. and all kind of vehicles such as two-wheelers, three-wheelers, cars, buses, trucks, etc. All road users including pedestrians and vehicles compete for the space at an intersection to make their moves. Though the traffic signals help to manage the available space to some extent in India, however, it may not be conducive to provide high safety standard and greater mobility for various reasons. Innovative intersections layout and traffic management system that is simple, cost effective and easy to implement might help to mitigate the present situation. The solution should be developed keeping the behavior and perceptions of Indian drivers, pedestrians and traffic laws in mind. A real world location in urban set-up should be considered to demonstrate the proposed solution. It can be designed and analyzed using available simulation and design software.”
(Source: Make in India Hackathon Website)
Well we thought of using analytics to solve the problem. The solution was called “TRAMS” – Transportation Reinforcement through Analytics to enhance Mobility and Safety.
Sometimes even if there’s nobody on the other side of the intersection, still you have to wait till the light turns green . Some of you might also take the liberty of crossing the intersection before the light turns green.
On other hand, sometimes there are a lot of cars in the lane and by the time it’s your turn the traffic light again signals you to stop. Perhaps you take a risk and accelerate your car so that it just crosses the intersection just before traffic from other side starts coming in.
The solution we proposed was dynamic traffic signal based on real time traffic data. Assuming everyone carries his/her mobile phone while commuting, we can get the no. of mobile phones, hence the total no. of cars in that area. And after processing the data, we can get an idea which place has a greater traffic and thus modify the traffic light time. During rush hours, traffic police handles the traffic but with this solution there will be no need of them. This will also decrease the waiting time of people and thus increase mobility.
The second part of our solution is an application which will judge whether a car will be able to cross the intersection in the given time with the given speed or not. So suppose you see from a far away distance that the signal is green and probably accelerate your car. Midway you realize that you are not going to make it so you decelerate. Sometimes due to this lack of judgement accidents happen. Through this application, there will be a alarm which will tell the driver to decelerate because with the current speed he can’t cross the intersection in the given time.
Of course, there’s a major problem here. What if the driver after listening the alarm, accelerates instead of decreasing the speed? Since he knows that he won’t be able to cross the intersection with the current speed, he would most likely accelerate. And probably that’s why our idea was rejected.
I am sharing the presentation also here, so you can be the judge here and decide whether our idea was worthy of being selected or not !
Major Takeaway: Read about Internet of Things. A very powerful tool in the tech industry and I don’t know anything about it !