How to make a traffic jam without a car

Google Maps, without doubt, is fantastic. After the company bought Waze for a huge amount of money seven years ago, it’s integrated a lot of the Waze crowdsourced driving features into Google Maps. The result is definitely beneficial for Google Maps users and we’re now used to seeing live traffic updates, lane closure information and speed cameras etc.

Wait though, because that clever live traffic feature gets data from Waze and Maps users plus it’ll use the GPS data to determine how fast your car is going. If you and enough other people running Maps nearby are all stopped, there’s a good chance that there’s a traffic jam. Makes sense really. If Google sees 50+ cars all stopped on the M6 at Junction 16 tomorrow, it’ll make the road as “red” and divert those travelling behind if possible.

What, though, if you had enough phones and you slowed moved down a street? Or even stopped? Well, this is what Simon Weckert did. He’s a performance artist and, with the aid of 99 smartphones, he cause a virtual traffic jam without a car..

I’ve got to say. I find this quite interesting. Sure, the logic on a motorway or a normal bypass or road is fairly simple. “If XX amount of GPS readings in XX distance is equal or less than 10 mph, mark as a traffic jam when not near junction”. What does Google do in the middle of a city though? When people with smartphones in their pockets are stood in big groups outside stores? Does that mark a traffic jam too?