Ever since I wrote about the traffic chaos created by Uber & Lyft, I have been thinking about how we can use technology to understand the extent of the problem, and then using other sets of technology to fix the problems and avoid regulatory challenges. After a while, I believe computer vision and data analytics are the right tools to make this happen. Here is how.
There are quite a few dash cam companies. Many of these dashcams record and view traffic ahead of the cars. It would be pretty cool if one of them could show a time lapse of “people driving badly” to gauge the extreme nature of the problem. And then they can run analytics to identify the bad drivers on services such as Uber, Lyft and take note of the sheer volume of traffic infringements.
It is not just the dash cams that can help here; lots of police cars and cameras on the intersections, especially in cities like new york, already are recording this data. putting this together into a big mesh to enhance safety could be a great win for all people. I mean the cameras are currently being used tools of surveillance (and that genie is out of the bag) but what if we could use them in new ways to adapt their outputs to make our civic spaces more efficient and liveable.
Traffic police could also issue tickets after the fact – or the city could automatically issue tickets with the video evidence attached. More importantly, it will be a smart approach for Uber and Lyft to become proactive and not wait for regulations to become a noose around their neck. I am a passionate supporter of free markets, but I also cannot ignore the lessons of history: time and again excessive market freedom has led to detrimental effects. As a pedestrian, I am one-hundred percent in favor of regulation of these new services, as they have not been responsible citizens of the cities and have abandoned their civic duties.