Scientists are down on the ground trying to steal a few ideas from the humble intelligent ant (hereinafter called ‘the more intelligent driver’) on how to manage traffic. And with good reason. Even when they’re moving in their millions, the little critters never get into snarl ups. I don’t know just how applicable their intelligence could be when it comes to the assortment of mean machines that roam the roads. In defense of the human driver:
- First the ‘more intelligent drivers’ are not driving. They are walking. Who knows maybe they too could bring on the jams if they were driving. Walking humans do not get jammed now do they?
- Second, our paths (roads) are not soaking in pheromones to let other drivers know what’s cutting. We have indicators and other signals which we sometimes don’t use. We have overweight cops and traffic rules which we follow only when absolutely necessary. And we have hand signs. An insulting finger sometimes. Oh and we have honks - shoulders to lean on in fits of road rage.
- The ‘more intelligent drivers’ do not suffer from such affiliations as inflated egos. They don’t have their ears jammed with modern bits of technology. They don’t eat, drink coffee, dance, talk, SMS or tweet when driving.
- Ok so ants move in single file, never overtaking one another. Maybe they’re never in a hurry and they don’t need/cant handle the adrenaline. Plus they can create divert paths out of nowhere in the unlikely even that they encounter an intelligent grid lock. In any event, they’re so feather light they can walk all over one another.
Seriously though, there is something there. Apparently ant traffic principles are already in use in some developed countries. Maybe not because the ants discovered them before but because some ways to control traffic are just obvious. What remains is implementation. Developed countries have not grabbed their road reserves, they’ve not yet emptied their coffers, and they have the political will to build Autobahns.
In our case, that would have to be 2031 when we have intelligent roads that can sniff a snarl up from miles away and miraculously open up side roads (leaving the VIP ones alone) to divert traffic and ease the impending jam already.
See Also: Traffic Jams Coming To Mombasa.