Mobile Millennium is a research project that includes a pilot traffic-monitoring system that uses the GPS in cellular phones to gather traffic information, process it, and distribute it back to the phones in real time. The public-private research partnership — UC Berkeley, Nokia Research Center, and NAVTEQ, with sponsorship from the California Department of Transportation — launched the pilot program from the Berkeley campus on November 10, 2008. It ran for exactly 12 months. During that time, more than 5,000 users downloaded the Mobile Millennium traffic software onto their phones.
The download feature of the pilot has now concluded. The early users (“Early Adopters”) are free to keep using the software.
The Mobile Millennium traffic-monitoring system currently operational at UC Berkeley integrates numerous feeds into traffic models, which broadcast highway and arterial traffic information in real-time. The feeds include data obtained from GPS-enabled mobile phones, all of San Francisco’s taxis (through GPS), plus radar, loop detectors, and historical databases.
The team built in high levels of privacy that separated position data from information about individual phone users. These included collecting the data using “virtual trip lines” — data collection points that yield only traffic information and do not detect a user’s personal information — and transmitting the data using banking-grade encryption.