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Traffic Robocops are Making Streets Safer in Congo

A group of engineers called Women’s Technology are fighting traffic deaths and crooked cops with automatons.

Gif by Addison Eaton

The DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) has become almost a byword for poverty and violence. Decades of endless warfare and generations of blatant corruption have left the nation torn, with no end to the country’s major problems in sight. At the center of all of this chaos is the capital of Kinshasa, Africa’s third largest metropolis, with almost nine million people living amidst decaying infrastructure. Although thankfully free of the most egregious brutality seen in the nation’s east, the city is still notorious for dirty cops, gridlock, and traffic deaths, among other perils. Yet although some equate the DRC with intractable dysfunction, there are many within the country fighting against the flow of conflict and corruption to repair their nation. In Kinshasa, a group of local engineers has come up with a particularly fantastical and unexpectedly practical solution to the city’s dangerous roads and unreliable traffic police: RoboTrafficCops.

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Police Want Off Waze’s Radar

Police want Waze to remove its cop-spotting feature, but is the Google owned app’s practice of sharing user data with government the bigger threat?

Police officers across the country are calling on the traffic-focused social media app Waze to remove its cop-spotting feature. Sergio Kopelev, a reserve deputy sheriff in Southern California, calls the undertaking his “personal jihad.”

via Waze

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Want to Make Your City Better? Lower the Speed Limit.

The 20’s Plenty campaign is slowing down some of the world’s fastest paced places.

Illustration by Tyler Hoehne

This spring, Anne Hidalgo, the new mayor of Paris, announced that the whole city would gradually lower the legal speed limit to just under 20 miles per hour (30km/h). Just a few streets that operate like highways will be exempt.

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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.

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An App that Sees and Prevents Future Traffic Jams

Windows Phone app Greenway knows where the traffic will be before it strikes and gets you to your destination twice as fast.

Anyone’s smartphone can caculate the shortest distance between two places and even recommend a route to avoid traffic along the way. But what about an app that helps prevent traffic jams before they begin? That’s the premise of Greenway, a new program for Windows Phone that plugs its users’ locations, destinations, and speeds into an algorithm to figure out where and when traffic jams are likely to occur. Then, it provides a route to steer cars away from those roads. The route is called, appopriately, the “Greenway,” and it's optimized for traffic, time, and the amount of gas used based on data about where other drivers are headed at the same time.

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Can These Two College Students Solve the Carpooling Puzzle?

Two students from the University of Costa Rica want to reduce the number of wasteful solo car trips by making carpooling with strangers safe and easy.

Last December two computer science majors from the University of Costa Rica, 22-year-old Mario Alberto Barrantes Quesada and 23-year-old Wagner Alberto Alvarado Quesada, were stuck in a traffic jam. As they inched along in their car, they heard a radio program talking about the benefits of carpooling. The duo decided to put their tech skills to good use and designed Carpooling Mate Finder, a mobile phone app that will make it easier to find someone to ride with based on common routes and schedules. Their app won a finalist spot in Microsoft's Imagine Cup, the world's premier technology competition for socially conscious high school and college students happening next month in New York City. I caught up with Mario and Wagner via Skype.

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