How could blockchain tackle ROAD CONGESTION?

Lunar Station
5 min readApr 28, 2021

Written by @Doodle15, Edited by @RealScrout

Road congestion

As of March 2018, 85% of the US population travels via car, truck or van [1]. There are also 285 million personal vehicles registered in the US [2]. This creates various problems for society. According to sources, an average American will spend around 54 hours in a traffic jam throughout one year [3]. Naturally, individuals could utilize this time much more beneficially if road congestion could be tackled.

Traffic congestions are very bad for the environment. They increase the concentration of toxic chemical compounds such as Sulphur dioxide, Carbon monoxide, Ozone and Nitric oxide. Increased concentration of each of these chemicals have their own implications on the environment and human/animal health; however, this is beyond the scope of this article [4].

Currently, some methods are used globally to alleviate road congestion. These can be separated into two categories:

  1. Supply-side actions, which are the following: [4]
  • The building or widening of roads — this has proven to be very hard because of the existing infrastructure of the cities (the limit of the structure, i.e. the width of the streets)
  • Synchronization of traffic lights — one of the most efficient ways to tackle traffic congestion,
  • Exclusive lanes and streets for mass transport

2. Demand-side actions, which are the following: [4]

  • Controlled parking — limited parking during rush hours
  • Road pricing — also known as toll roads
  • Restricting vehicles — prohibition of movement of some of the vehicles during the peak hours


Intelligent transportation system is a system that has been developed to automate the actions listed above. It manages:

  • Intelligent transportation — intelligent route planning for public transportation
  • Safe driving assistance — early alarms about onward vehicle breakdowns or other obstacles.
  • Driver/vehicle-related services — existing or possible fines/ of maintenance of the vehicle.
  • Passenger infotainment system — current speed, location of the vehicle’s passengers travel in, streaming videos.
  • Environmental data provision — any data pooled from the crowdsourcing could be any data ranging from the number of cars on a particular street during peak hours to total CO2 emissions per day [5].
Safe driving assistance [5]

The ITS is an intelligent system; however, the privacy of the information is a big concern. The data sent by the users may have some sensitive information, including the last known location and car registration plates. Since ITS also provides the navigation routes, this might also significantly expose the user as others could decipher your route. The problem is that the existing ITS’ are not built with privacy issues in mind in the first place. Current ITS’ have several “flaws”:

  • overdependence on centralized cloud storage solutions
  • untraceable malicious behaviour (if such occurs)
  • indiscriminate data storage (i.e. the private data is stored together with the environmental monitoring data) [5]

This is where blockchain technology comes in.

Blockchain is a decentralized, shared digital ledger which operates via consensus of a global peer to peer network. A Digital ledger is a series of encrypted information blocks linked together on a public chain [6].

How blockchain works [6]

Blockchain inherently has the following characteristics that improve privacy:

  • Decentralized data storage — data is stored across all the network at different nodes.
  • Audibility and transparency — every transaction that occurs on the blockchain is stored and later reviewed.
  • Anonymity — blockchain utilizes private/public keys, meaning all the content is encrypted [4].

In other words, blockchain brings with it privacy, transparency and security to the table.

Thus a blockchain assisted ITS is proposed as an improvement to the current ITS format. For this system to work, the government would have to mandate the car manufacturers to install a special intelligent vehicular trust node (iv-tp) that would generate a unique ID for the vehicle (private/public keys) [4]. However, before doing this, individuals should be educated about how safe and secure blockchain technology is and that it is virtually impossible to track individuals using this system when privacy additions are enabled.

With how technology develops currently, it won’t be long before we see autonomous cars driving on the streets. At that time, an info leakage threat would be an even more serious concern. As an example, GM is currently innovating and considering blockchain-based navigation maps for self-driving vehicles. To make the technology prone to hacking or malicious behaviour [7].





[1] Misachi, J. (2018). America’s Most Popular Ways Of Commuting To Work. [online] WorldAtlas. Available at:

[2] US (2018). US VIO Vehicle Registration Data 2018, Fast Quote on Car Data. [online] Hedges & Company. Available at:

[3] Liu, J. (2019). Commuters in this city spend 119 hours a year stuck in traffic. [online] CNBC. Available at:

[4] Bull, A. (2003). Publicaciones de la CEPAL. [online] , pp.45–125. Available at: [Accessed 22 Feb. 2020].

[5] Li, Y., Ouyang, K., Li, N., Rahmani, R., Yang, H. and Pei, Y. (2020). A Blockchain-Assisted Intelligent Transportation System Promoting Data Services with Privacy Protection. Sensors, 20(9), p.2483.

[6] (2018). 8 Ways Blockchain Is Revolutionizing Transportation And Logistics. [online] Available at:

[7] Singh, I. (2020). GM explores blockchain-based navigation maps for autonomous vehicles. [online] Geoawesomeness. Available at: [Accessed 26 Apr. 2021].



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