Google Maps provides real-time traffic information along your route by by counting the number of cell phones in use along that stretch of road, which suggests that you could fool Google by loading up a large number of phones and bringing them with you. This guy is claiming to have demonstrated that by filling a little red wagon with 99 cell phones, impersonating a traffic jam, and trundling along roads that are relatively empty of cars.
I don’t know if I believe it, and the video doesn’t show it. I mean, he does show screens from Google Maps that light up red as he walks along, so I can believe that he’s exposing the algorithm, but I doubt that it would have a particularly strong effect on traffic — those streets are empty because of the time of day that he chose to record it. How many people diligently plan their commute by checking for traffic flow, and have a set of alternative routes? How many would use the evidence of their eyes, that that street over there is obviously clear of cars, to decide where to go?
I don’t count because out here, a traffic jam is when more than two cars are waiting at a stop sign.
If it does work, I’d expect rich people to load up on cell phones in their cars just to discourage others from following their route. I could imagine Elon Musk thinking this was a clever idea. It’s more practical than boring tunnels everywhere you want to go, anyway.