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Honda tests congestion minimization technology on public roads in Indonesia, finds >20% improvement in fuel efficiency

The amount of traffic and pattern of changes in average speed with vehicles equipped with the system. Click to enlarge.

Honda Motor Co., Ltd. conducted public-road testing of its new traffic congestion minimization technology (earlier post) in Indonesia and verified the effectiveness of the technology in delaying the development of congestion and in improving fuel efficiency by more than 20%. The public-road testing was conducted from September 2012 through February 2013 on a toll road between Ulujami and Pondok Ranji in Jakarta.

Traffic congestion is caused by the disorderly flow of the traffic. Therefore, to minimize congestion, the driver of each vehicle needs to adjust driving behavior to the surrounding vehicles. Honda developed a smartphone app which changes the colors of the smartphone display to help the user to check at a glance whether his/her driving is aligned with surrounding vehicles.

Display of the app: When the driving pattern is Normal, the color is green. Click to enlarge.   Display of the app: When the driving pattern is likely to cause congestion, the color changes from green to blue Click to enlarge.

This app was used in the public-road testing conducted in Indonesia. This smartphone app monitors the pattern of acceleration and deceleration and determines if the pattern is likely to create traffic congestion, and if so, provides support to aligning driving to the surrounding vehicles.

Two different types of systems were tested:

  • Stand-alone system: using a stand-alone smartphone on one vehicle, the system determines if the driving pattern leads to traffic congestion.

  • Interactive system: multiple smartphones in multiple vehicles are connected to a cloud server to provide synchronized assistance to the driver taking into consideration the behavior of multiple vehicles and information about other vehicles up ahead.

  Stand-alone Interactive Explanation
Delay in development of congestion Average 3 min
Maximum 6 min
Average 4 min
Maximum 6 min
Introduction of this system will make the flow of traffic more smooth and increase the average vehicle speed, therefore will delay the development of traffic congestion.
Changes in average speed More moderate by 60% More moderate by 70% Drastic changes in vehicle speed will cause congestion. The moderate changes in speed also will increase the safety level.
Fuel efficiency improvement 20% 22%

In addition to minimizing traffic congestion, this app is expected to improve the safety and fuel efficiency of the user’s vehicle as well as several hundred vehicles operating on the same roads.

Honda will continue to develop and to enhance of the technology, including adding a function that employs an on-board device to provide the users with information about possible congested areas determined based on the actual amount of traffic and driving patterns.

To realize the widespread use of this technology for motorcycles and other types of vehicles, Honda also will develop a function that supports riding/driving aligned through the use of audio and vibration alerts.



If drivers react to the decreased congestion by driving more or packing their travel into peak hours, it will yield no net improvement.  Congestion control mechanisms need to include control of the number of vehicles on the road at any one time during the peaks, such as with subscriptions or tolls.



Subscriptions and tolls do the opposite of what you believe. Their incentive is to maximize revenue. The easiest way to do that is by increasing the number of customers.

That's not a bad thing. The problem looking for a remedy is not economic activity per-se (people commuting to and from work), but rather congestion, fuel use, and pollution. In an ideal world, people should be able to go about their business (in the literal sense) with 100% efficiency and no externalities.

Systems like this one allow more efficient utilization of common resources. That is of greater benefit than your proposal to artificially limit access.


Limited subscriptions could raise immense revenue; just do a Dutch auction of permits for peak hours, with existing holders guaranteed a renewal.  If you sell no more subscriptions than the capacity of the road, the price mechanism takes care of the rest.


More, faster, electrified public transport (30 to 100 passenger e-buses, high speed e-trains etc) is the best way to reduce congestion on public and private roads and streets.

The progressive arrival of 1+B electrified cars and light e-trucks may have a major disastrous effect on highway, road and street congestion, if nothing is done to better manage road-street traffic.

Future driver less e-vehicles + appropriate communication-control system could handle more traffic with higher safety?



There is a problem with schemes that only seek to limit access, rather than improve the efficiency of that access.

Who are you limiting the access to? In your proposal, it's to the highest bidder and/or incumbents. That makes sense if you are rich and/or grandfathered-in, but it doesn't if you are trying to extract the maximum benefit from a common resource such as a road.

The goal of this exercise is not revenue. It's improving access to transportation for Indonesians. Having a "rich people's highway" doesn't help the country. It certainly doesn't get more food to market, or goods to port.


You said that the easiest way to raise revenue is to increase the number of customers.  That was far from axiomatic, so take your lumps.  Whether or not a road authority should manage access to maximize revenue is a different question (and one that ought to be pointedly directed at the Illinois tollway).

Transit buses might take up the road space of 3 passenger vehicles, but would spread the cost per ride over dozens of riders.  Food and goods don't have to move at peak commuting hours; it's probably best if they are held off the road at those times.  If they don't subscribe to get peak-hours passes they wouldn't be competing, and everyone else would have an easier and faster ride.

Roger Pham


E-P has a good point. I like to drive on toll Hwy's more due to the lack of congestion, and higher speed limit. Having to pay for access will reduce congestion.
On heavily congested downtown areas, the best solution is park and ride. Park your car at the outskirt and take a shuttle bus to down town area. This will reduce pollution in crowded areas as well. VIP's whose time is very valuable can pay entry fee or toll for direct access via POV's.


@ Future driver less e-vehicles + appropriate communication-control system could handle more traffic with higher safety?

Follow me and repeat 27 times?

Then it becomes real!

Its close to april fools

Imagine if humans took driving seriously

Realized it’s a privilege to maneuver an ICE or whatever through life. Not a right!!!

We all share the road and should respect each other’s privilege to move in coexistence with each.
We would NOT need a machine...

Let me see if I get this right You really want the cloud to drive your car.


"Fuel efficiency improvement: Stand-alone, 20% Interactive, 22%".

Sounds like;
"The Stand-alone system determines if the driving pattern leads to traffic congestion."
is as good as the interactive and so may mostly be just a hyper-mileage program.

If so It may not be heeded by the driver and he will probably reduce trip time if all other vehicles do follow the instructions


There has to be an alternative to toll roads before a comparison is made. I don't think adding a toll makes the road inherently less traffic prone or congested.

Again like Bernard is trying to stress, tolls that make it cost restrictive (in the sense that it limits enough usage to make traffic a non-issue) is a tax on the poor, businesses, and the regional economy. Even if there is a set number of passes at a low fixed cost, it would give the privileged few an unfair advantage, and force many out of a job, and business to relocate or shot its doors...

Infrastructure should never be taxed such that it is a large revenue source... imagine if all the budgets made by the government were offset by taxes on water, electric, gas, sewers roads ect...


Roger, E-P,

As you probably can guess, Indonesia already has a means of transport tailored to the ultra-rich: the helicopter. No need for private highways!
The problem that's being addressed here is "how do you get your caterer with the foie gras to the helipad on time?"
You still need highways for that. If you are going to build highways, you want them to be as efficient as possible so that you don't need to build too many.

That's what this Honda test is all about (minus the foie gras, which is in jest). Bumper-to-bumper traffic is wasteful. Traffic-pacing measures such as these can increase average speed and decrease energy use. That's good for all road users (car, bus, truck, motorcycle, etc).

tolls that make it cost restrictive (in the sense that it limits enough usage to make traffic a non-issue) is a tax on the poor, businesses, and the regional economy.
The time wasted in congestion is also a tax on the economy; time lost behind the wheel is gone and cannot be used productively.

If tolls and subscriptions were used to subsidize better rush-hour bus service, travel times for everyone could go down.  In economist-speak, "first-come, first-served, all you can eat" is an inefficient way to allocate limited space on roads.


Incompetent, reckless and intrepid drivers create accidents (specially on slippery roads) double park, park in restricted areas, slow to park and generally contribute to traffic jams and/or to slower traffic flow.

Future driver assistance will help to improve drivers performance and traffic flow.

Future autonomous (driver less vehicles) + improved communication to select best route + intelligent traffic lights control, will further improve vehicle driving and traffic flow. Machines are best suited to drive a vehicle from A to B with less time and fuel.


@ EP

Who are you to deny my right to choose to sit in traffic?

I make a conscious decision to sit in rush-hour traffic, to put limits on my ability, or anyone else's ability to do so is fascist or at least asinine.

To have a toll that is so prohibitively expensive that it just may curb rush hour traffic favors people who are not easily affected by changes in necessary expenses ie, those with a large wealth.

Answer me this, at what cost to you, would a toll system keep you from driving a car?
We'll use a per month basis, for me solely taking me into account I'd say I could do about $200/mo; factoring family and other carpool ventures this could jump to $500-700 as it artificially subsidizes my cost.

If this proposed system were on a per mileage basis I would be homeless/carless/jobless, if it were some month to month pass I'd more able to cope, if it were a limited number run of passes its solely open to chance and over-the-top determination.


Harvey I totally agree with you here,

If I could have a car that could competently drive me in rush-hour/ rain/ snow and other extremes with little or no input I would cherish it.

even if it were a free-way only/stop n' go autonomous driving I would welcome it.

I think you would also like Ford's TED talk on autonomous driving and future of traffic.

If it went to the extreme and was completely autonomous, it could bring about an advent of car sharing that no one could have ever imagined. You could have one or two cars for multiple families, even commercially it would mean incredible viability for car sharing. They could operate nearly 24/7, have a lower cost of insurance/ownership by removing the human element of driving, lead to fewer cars, fewer deaths, less traffic, more convenience, more car pooling, fewer miles traveled... Just the overall efficiencies of a society run with on-demand, autonomous driving would be spectacular.


CE88....future autonomous e-vehicles (as current hi-rise elevators do) will better serve the population 24/7 and on an as required basis at much lower cost than current ICEVs gas guzzlers and huge ICE city buses and expensive taxis.

The cost could be so low that many (innovative) cities may offer FREE passenger service, within the city core, to reduce traffic density and traffic jams.

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