ENGINEERING NEWS

Hani Mahmassani Quoted in Discover Magazine

Hani Mahmassani, director of Northwestern’s Transportation Center and William A. Patterson Distinguished Chair in Transportation, was quoted in the September issue of Discover magazine in an article about the future of automobile navigation.

In the article “Future Tech,” David H. Freedman writes:

In the shorter term, nav systems may start improving traffic flow simply by no longer directing every driver onto the supposed fastest route, a simpleminded approach that currently funnels everyone heading the same way onto the same roads.

“Like in the stock market, a tip everyone has is not much of a tip,” Northwestern University engineer Hani Mahmassani says. Instead, each nav might randomly choose between the standard “fastest” route and several almost-as-fast alternatives, spreading out the traffic flow. That approach would not work as well as centrally controlled traffic distribution driven by live data, but it would still cut down on congestion – and would do so without the need for any coordination among the nav systems in all the vehicles.