UC Berkeley NewsView of Campanile and Golden Gate Bridge
Today's news & events
News by email
For the news media
Calendar of events
Top stories
Untitled Document
Media Advisory

100 cars to hit the road for field test using Nokia cell phones to monitor traffic

31 January 2008

ATTENTION: Transportation and general assignment reporters

Contact: Sarah Yang, Media Relations
(510) 643-7741 scyang@berkeley.edu

"Mobile Century," a first-of-its-kind field experiment involving a fleet of 100 cars that will test how traffic flows can be monitored from GPS-enabled cell phones while preserving phone users' privacy. The field test is a joint project between researchers at the University of California, Berkeley's California Center for Innovative Transportation (CCIT) and the Nokia Research Center in Palo Alto. In the experiment, drivers carrying Nokia N95 cell phones will travel in a loop along a 10-mile stretch of I-880 between Hayward and Fremont, Calif., throughout the day.

Friday, Feb. 8. Press check-in begins at 9:30 a.m.; a short press briefing is at 10 a.m., followed by the deployment of vehicles, one-on-one interviews, guided tours of the command center and vehicle ride-alongs. To prevent interference with the field test, no media arrivals are allowed after 10 a.m. From 11 a.m.-4 p.m., photographers may get shots of the cars, marked with colored and numbered decals, from the I-880 overpasses at Winton Avenue and Decoto Road.

The field test command center will be in a tent in the parking lot in front of the Lowe's store at Union City's Union Landing retail center, next to I-880 between Whipple and Alvarado Niles roads.

Researchers and officials on site at Union Landing will include:

  • Alexandre Bayen, UC Berkeley assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering and the project's principal investigator
  • Bob Iannucci, Nokia chief technology officer
  • Randell Iwasaki, California Department of Transportation chief deputy director
  • Henry Tirri, vice president of Nokia Research Center
  • Thomas West, director of UC Berkeley's CCIT

Information technology is playing an increasingly important role in providing drivers and transportation officials with real-time data about traffic conditions. Sensors embedded in roadways prevail today, yet researchers say the vast amount of traffic data that could be obtained from GPS-enabled mobile phones has tremendous potential for enhancing the coverage and accuracy of traffic flow information at a much lower cost. The Mobile Century field test provides a unique first glimpse into how this concept might function in practice.