Updated Feb, 17th 2013
My idea is for traffic reduction, rather than traffic Management thru high tech data manipulation.
What are the main groups of "travelers" on the roads today?
1) Logistical (moving things to market)
2) Commuters (regular, daily job travel)
3) Mobile workers (people whose jobs, or job searches, take them randomly all over)
For category 2, I propose giving tax credits to corporations that will empower their employees to work off -site half the time. This will become especially important as our population continues to increase and continues to age.
While it may be true that PEOPLE dont respond well to purely financial incentives, corporations do! Tax breaks that encourage job reform is a way for our pathetically bloated governments to do something useful :).
For categories 1, 3 and 4, I propose a system of Pollution Credits that can be bought and sold on the open market. This has utility beyond just traffic reduction, but let's just consider traffic right now. Everyone adult of driving age gets the same number of credits. You can spend them any way you wish. Most people will apply them to gasoline purchases. Want to drive an SUV or a 1960s Muscle Car? Fine, you'll run out of credits many miles sooner and simply drive less. Or, you will buy more credits from a poor student or burger flipper or janitor who doesn't own a car at all. Win, win! There will be an additional incentive to be car-less beyond just ideological righteousness. Want to throw your credits into a carpool situation? Good idea... you'll still get to work, but have extra credits to sell.
On a global scale, this could be awesome. Imagine General Motors buying credits from some buddhist monk on a mountain top somewhere so they can pump a few more pounds of carbon out their smokestacks. We'll soon be connected enough to do that...
UPDATE: Some further thoughts on coworking... one of the critical problems to solve there is a social problem. How to make humans (herding animals) happy without having a water hole... er... water cooler to gather around. One solution to this is an app by the clever fellow who started Second Life (itself a handy remote meeting environmant) called "Workclub" https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/workclub/id507479946?mt=8. All day long, my phone pings to let me know who has checked in where, and what they are working on.... it makes you feel much more connected...
Other ideas i thought of, but we can only post one project: