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My thought is that cellular network providers could, without the installation of any new devices in roads or vehicles or new software in cellphones, track the movement of individual cellphones as a means of estimating highway flow rates.
This kind of positioning is grossly inaccurate (or at least
has been historically), but there are so many deployed devices that it should be possible to infer which ones are statistically likely to be in a moving vehicle. You can guess which road they're on by their approximate rate of travel, the number of cellphones travelling at a similar rate, and total distance travelled.
Floating car data
Floating car data (FCD), also known as floating cellular data, is a method to determine the traffic speed on the road network. It is based on the collection of localization data, speed, direction of travel and time information from mobile phones in vehicles that are being driven [xaviergisz, May 03 2016]
Google Traffic works by analyzing the GPS-determined locations transmitted to Google by a large number of mobile phone users. By calculating the speed of users along a length of road, Google is able to generate a live traffic map.[ [xaviergisz, May 03 2016]
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||Google Traffic is the sort of cooperative system I specifically wanted to avoid. FCD seems to be exactly what I meant, though.
||Wayz already does this, shirley?
||Waze appears to be app-based; so requiring software on the phone and radio communication above and beyond what's necessary for the phone to stay on-network and be a phone. That means it has to consume extra battery power to share the data, and it can only share the data from users who have the app and choose (one assumes there's a choice) to share it.
||Using cellular base station information means every phone is a part of the network (whether they like it or not) and phones aren't required to use extra bandwidth or battery simply for the sake of keeping the network up to date.
||Apparently the traffic signs in my city do this. I was
by a friend that they use the Bluetooth MAC address
your phone/car/earpiece/whatever, and measure how
long it takes to get from one checkpoint to another.
Then they aggregate the data from a great many of
these, and calculate how bad the traffic is, to display
ETAs to common destinations on signs above the
||Edit: And, indeed, I now see that the "Vehicle re-
identifcation" section of the FCD article describes
exactly what I just did.
||OK, I see the difference between this and waze.
||Anywayze what does the Board of Intermediate and
Secondary Education in Bannu have to do with it?