CSE 400/401: Senior Design

Spring 2006


Feng Zhao


Faculty Advisor: Dr. Zachary Ives


When commuters want to get from Point A to Point B, they tend to use the most direct highway route. This might sounds like a sensible strategy because it minimizes the distance commuters have to travel given the fact that they bypass traffic lights. But does this strategy always obtain the quickest route? It would if we lived in a perfect world that does not have traffic congestions and the shortest distance always translates to the quickest route. But in the real world, where traffic congestions occur everyday, the shortest distance often does not translate to the quickest route. In fact, a lot of traffic congestions can be avoided if people can plan their routes via slight detours. The tradeoff between increase in distance and decrease in travel time is well worth considering for a large number of people.

Currently, to accurately assess this tradeoff, commuters would have to look up each alternate route between Point A and Point B, and then look up real-time traffic data for each route to find out if they can avoid traffic congestion. Even then, in the situation where all possible alternative routes have some congested parts, it would be difficult for a commuter to accurately assess exactly how much delay each congestion costs and which route is actually the quickest. That is a rather complicated procedure for most commuters, and often the hassle outweighs the benefits, so the majority of commuters do not even attempt to find the quickest route for their daily commute and end up sitting in traffic.

I believe attempting to avoid traffic congestions is not only important for individual commuters to save time, but also increases overall efficiency of highway usage. By avoiding highways that are congested, commuters are automatically redistributing themselves onto highways that are often underused. On top of increased efficiency in highway usage, avoiding traffic congestions also carries a positive externality. By not using roads that are congested and adding to the problem, commuters are in effect allowing the congestions to clear up more quickly.

My solution to motivate commuters to attempt to avoid traffic congestions more often is to simplify the work they have to do to accomplish this task. IntelliRoute is a web application that allows commuters to find the actual quickest route from Point A to Point B by taking into account real-time traffic data. All the user has to do is input the origin and destination addresses and IntelliRoute finds all viable alternate routes, calculates fairly precise delays for each route, and returns the quickest one. To further increase ease of use, the web application is also complemented by a PDA application. The PDA application serves two purposes: provide a simple way for commuters to bring the driving directions into their cars, and if there is internet access, allow commuters to connect directly to the web application and request routes wirelessly.

Project Poster

Project Report

Overall System Design

System Communications Diagram

Database Relationships

Database Schemas