Los Angeles citizens turn to technology for ‘Carmageddon’ freeway closure

LA-Traffic-I405The second most populous city in the nation is bracing for an 11 mile closure of the popular I-405 freeway this weekend. Interstate 405 is the main artery of travel for the West Side of Los Angeles and typically handles half a million cars every weekend. The section of freeway is scheduled to be closed for 53 hours starting on 7 p.m. Friday night through 6 a.m. Monday morning to add carpool lanes as well as 18 miles of sound walls. Electronic billboards are warning residents of Los Angeles and San Diego to expect massive delays if using the I-405 freeway. This is a portion of a road-widening project that’s costing the city $1 billion dollars. If the contractor (Kiewit Infrastructure) doesn’t finish in time, they will have to pay $6,000 every 10 minutes for each side of the freeway that remains closed.

LA-traffic-managementThe center that manages the Los Angeles freeways, Caltrans, is using its Traffic Management Center to manage the flow of traffic during the closure. The center is planning to utilize over 400 cameras, vehicle-tracking sensors fixed in the road and airborne CHP officers to prevent traffic congestion. The Los Angeles Emergency Operations Center will also be in operation, a facility that typically handles natural disasters. Businesses are expected to suffer this weekend as employees will have difficulty reaching the workplace. Hospitals in the UCLA area are setting up dorm and hotel rooms for employees.

The Los Angeles police department turned to celebrities with large Twitter followings to promote awareness of the freeway closure last month. Celebrities included Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian, Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher with a collective Twitter following of 30 million people. Kutcher responded to the LAPD request with a request of his own in jest, a free pass on a red-light ticket.

Citizens of Los Angeles have been encouraged to download a free application called Waze for Android, iPhone and BlackBerry phones. After a user starts Waze, the app actively tracks the speed of the car with the GPS. This information is relayed back to Waze and plugged into the constantly updating map on the screen. Traffic jams are identified by a red line covering the roads on the map. Users can also report events immediately like accidents, hazards, police checkpoints and even open parking spots. Users can also upload photos to alert other users of Waze the reason behind traffic congestion. Waze also offers immediate re-routes based on the crowdsourced, user-generated data, a service likely of great use during the I-405 closure.

Emerging Tech

With cameras that know dogs from Dodges, Honda is making intersections safer

Honda and the city of Marysville, Ohio are working on creating a smart intersection. The goal would not only help better direct the flow of traffic, it could also help save the lives of pedestrians and cyclists.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.

GPS units aren't dead! Our favorite models still do things your phone can't

Love hitting the open road but hate having to rely solely on your phone for getting around? Thankfully, the best in-car GPS systems will allow you to navigate and capitalize on a range of features sans your cellular network. Here are our…

Waymo sees improvements ahead as its self-driving fleet logs 10 million miles

Waymo's fleet of self-driving cars has crossed the 10 million-mile mark. The company isn't resting on its laurels; it has outlined the improvements it wants to make over the next 10 million miles.

Watch this driverless Range Rover tackle one of U.K.’s ‘most challenging roads’

Jaguar Land Rover just sent its autonomous Range Rover Sport vehicle onto one of the U.K.'s "most challenging road layouts," and the automaker has posted a video online showing exactly how it fared.

A public/private autonomous driving institute blooms under the Arizona sun

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey announced the Institute for Automated Mobility (IAM), partnering government, academic, and private organizations to develop self-driving tech and safety standards. Intel is the first private-sector member.
Product Review

The 2019 Volvo V60 proves it's still cool to drive a station wagon

With the 2019 V60, Volvo argues the station wagon segment isn't as moribund as most other automakers say it is. The company goes as far as arguing we're on the cusp of a wagon revival, and the V60 is poised to lead the charge.

Ford imagines a future without traffic lights or stop signs

Ford is using vehicle-to-vehicle communication (V2V) tech to allow cars to pass through intersections without stopping. The experimental "Intersection Priority Management" system basically acts as air traffic control for cars.

The supersized BMW X7 is coming with a grille you can park a 2 Series on

BMW will soon expand its lineup with a new range-topping SUV named the X7. The first-ever BMW X7 is shaping up to be the 7 Series of the SUV world in terms of size, price, and image.

Can't see all of a sudden? Our quick guide on defogging your car windows

Did you suddenly lose exterior visibility while driving because of foggy windows? Don't panic! Here's our quick guide on defogging your car windows in a safe manner while on the go, and a few steps on how to prevent them.
Product Review

Volvo’s redesigned 2019 S60 sedan is the best kind of remix

The 2019 Volvo S60 borrows almost everything from other recent Volvo models, but that’s not a problem. From its infotainment system to an available plug-in hybrid powertrain, the S60 takes the best bits from a lineup of great cars.

Carbuying can be exhausting: Here are the best used car websites to make it easier

Shopping for a used car isn't easy, especially when the salesman is looking to make a quick sale. Thankfully, there are plenty of sites aimed at the prospective buyer, whether you're looking for a sedan or a newfangled hybrid.

Are European-style self-dimming and glare-free headlights coming to the U.S.?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposes to allow adaptive LED headlights on vehicles sold in the U.S. Adaptive LEDs automatically lower headlight intensity when they detect pedestrians or oncoming vehicles.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: DIY smartphones and zip-on bike tires

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!