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Smart Traffic Lights Think For Themselves

Find waiting at an empty intersection annoying?

Your driving frustrations may soon be relieved, if city planners adopt a new self-organizing system for traffic lights.

European engineers have designed and tested a system that would give each traffic signal a sensor, to read the current traffic situation, and a computer chip, to calculate the expected flow of vehicles and then determine how long the light should stay green.

Instead of solely reacting to immediate traffic demands at one specific intersection, which could make things worse, the group of lights would work together as a system to keep traffic flowing smoothly. That means no more unnecessary light changes, and (even better) no more waiting at empty intersections.

The engineers tested their algorithms in a computer-simulated city and found that, not only would congestion be reduced, but delay times at traffic lights would be reduced by 10 to 30 percent.

Image: Horia Varlan / Flickr

One Response to “Smart Traffic Lights Think For Themselves”

  1. […] can also carry hundreds of passengers at a time, which could potentially help alleviate the traffic congestion that plagues many metropolitan […]

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