GOOD

Olympic Blues: London Cabbies Feel Left Out of the Party

Barred from access to Olympic VIP traffic lanes, many cabbies would rather park their iconic rides than suffer through snarled traffic.


There are many ways one can navigate the labyrinthine streets of London—the sweaty Tube network, Boris’ bicycle hire, the top deck of a red bus—but there’s only one way to get around and get an education at the same time: the iconic black cab.

Climb into a licensed London cab, name one of the city’s 25,000 quaintly named streets (like Lamb’s Conduit, or Threadneedle) and a London cabbie will get you there, no questions, map, or GPS required.

Keep Reading Show less
Articles

Microsoft Uses Cabbies and Fancy Math to Provide Better Driving Directions Microsoft, Cabbies Team Up to Improve GPS Directions

How good is your GPS in city traffic? Certainly not better than a cabbie 20 years on the job. That's the premise of ingenious project called T-Drive.


Does your GPS know how to navigate city traffic? Hardly. And certainly not better than a cabbie 20 years on the job. That's the premise of an ingenious project at Microsoft Research called T-Drive.

Anyone who has ever driven in a city knows there's often a faster route—down a side street, or a bit longer on the odometer but far speedier, maybe the lights are longer. Anyway, GPS isn't so good at making the call to get off the highway and hit the back streets. So, researchers Xing Xie and Yu Zheng turned to the experts: over 33,000 cabbies in China. They monitored the GPS locations and times of taxis over three months to determine which routes were the fastest, essentially mining their collective intelligence and human knowledge to defeat the machine algorithm using something called Variance-Entropy-Based Clustering. The data revealed which stretches of which roads were consistently chosen, and which were avoided and when.

Keep Reading Show less
Articles