Tapping “Big Data” to Fill Potholes

Entrepreneurs and investors are finding new ways to tap the predictive power of numbers, including ways to kill the traffic jam and other motorist scourges such as potholes.

The results are playing out inside a state traffic-management center in Woodbridge, N.J. That’s where New Jersey officials watch a 22-foot-high mounted screen as supercomputers powered by start-up Inrix Inc. scoop up millions of cellphone and GPS signals, make sense of the jumble of information about car speeds, weather conditions and sports schedules, and translate the data into maps of traffic along 2,600 miles of the state’s roads.

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