TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT: Google-backed startup vies to predict congestion patterns

Feb. 4, 2016

The Los Altos, Calif. based firm’s new software seeks to get ahead of the traffic congestion management problem

Urban Engines, a Google Ventures-backed startup in based in Los Altos, Calif., is trying to go large with its software, called the “Space/Time Engine,” which aggregates real-time traffic data and feeds it into predictive models. The goal of the software is to give users the ability to see what route will likely be the best to send a package along, or drive a fleet vehicle through, or simply avoid congestion based on what time of day it is and what’s happening in the area. The information generated is augmentted with data about things that impact traffic flows, such as weather and major social events.

As of Jan. 28, according to a company announcement, Urban Engines is in business with Bay Area Rapid Transit, as well as the international private-sector firms NEC, Softbank and Delhivery.

“Our world is constantly changing with variances every second,” the press release reads. “The best route and time for getting from one end of a city to another is not static, so the best business decisions shouldn’t be either.”

Determining when congestion will occur and not just where makes the software’s data more useful for a number of purposes, Urban Engines posited in the press release: “Congestion isn’t limited to single commutes, but the collective impact of how each car, bus, bike, parcel, delivery service, and/or person navigates busy city streets.”