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Imagine That! - Stuck on Traffic

Imagine That!
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Imagine That! - Stuck on Traffic

Credit: NSF/Finger Lakes Productions International

Audio Transcript:

More people are driving more vehicles every day. Will traffic jams take over our lives? Maybe not.

Imagine That!

Nobody likes traffic. It slows us down, causes frustration, wastes gas, and contributes to air pollution. But with more vehicles appearing on more roadways every day, will there ever be an end to bottlenecks? Civil engineer Adel Sadek says there's light at the end of the...bottle.

His work at the University of Vermont has led him to look for ways not to build more roads, but to make better use of the ones we already have.

Sadek: "We were trying to see whether we could redesign the land use in such a way so as to prevent congestion from happening in the first place instead of waiting until you have congestion problems and then trying to address these problems."

He uses neural networks, developed to study the workings of the human brain, to map out better land use patterns. He also uses them to predict travel time along transportation facilities. While our technology today is able to provide estimates on current travel times, neural networks can learn to predict how long it will take you to get from here to there once you actually start your trip. Predicting travel time will help us more efficiently distribute traffic over transportation networks.

Three beeps for an engineer who's making traffic a long drive away. I'm Eric Phillips.

"Imagine That!" covers projects funded by the U.S. government's National Science Foundation. Federally sponsored research -- brought to you by you! Learn more at

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