Information Currency and Information Engineering

Information currency ( and its applications.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Information Currency for Traffic Signal Control

In addition to functioning as tradeable property titles to information (e.g., commits to a subversion repository), it is intended that information currency units will serve as general purpose access control tokens. These access control tokens can be associated with authorization to utilize physical resources, such as "permits" to occupy a particular area (access-controlled vault or other secured space), or authorization to control a device providing communication or computation services (such as granting access to forwarding services in a wireless network or allowing a login to a computer system). One application that bridges physical access control and control of electronic service-providing devices is the control of traffic-signalling devices.

In this application, the presentation of an information currency unit from a recognized series allows the presenter to control the operation of the traffic signal, in a manner subject to essential safety constraints, for a specific amount of time. An individual who has purchased the information currency that will enable them to control traffic signals may use that IC in conjunction with real-time sensor systems to provide services that enhance the transportation experience.

The ultimate controlling authority for the traffic signal devices is the authority that creates and maintains signal access information currency. It should be expected that the underlying control system for the traffic signals, in addition to supporting information currency-based access control, will enforce consistency such that accidents are prevented. This would include the prevention of green lights in mutually exclusive directions, specified lengths of time for yellow lights, and other safety considerations. Additionally, there may be certain minimal service levels that are maintained for users of the traffic signal not presenting information currency for the use of the traffic signal.

The use of economic mechanisms to manage traffic signals should be highly effective in increasing the welfare and well-being of traffic signal users. The nature of economic calculation is particularly well-suited to traffic management, as there are many independently motivated users of automobile transport resources who currently utilize fixed transportation resources, generally without a price system, with a clear scarcity and exclusivity in the use of high-speed transportation resources. Additionally, the evolving technologies of mobile Internet communications and computing can be utilized for the exchange of information currency to dynamically coordinate the rivalrous allocation of transportation resources. The use of markets for the pricing of traffic signal device control enables a wide range of efforts to contribute to increasing the welfare of transportation market participants. An active, liquid market for economic instruments used for traffic signal access control will enable wide participation in transport efficiency enhancement, incentivizing the development of new systems to make transportation safer, faster, and more satisfying.

Traffic signal control by dynamic means is already a reality, of course, (along with associated non-market economic mechanisms) just unevenly allocated by non-market means. Does anyone else see a direct parallel between Soviet bread lines and American traffic jams? ;)


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