August 6 is 100th anniversary of the traffic light at an intersection in Cleveland, Ohio. Today, traffic lights are controlled by sensors that include proximity sensors with some intelligent sensors using localized software. In the future, traffic lights may make driving safer, reduce commutes, save time and lower emissions.
Researchers at MIT have developed a means of computing optimal timings for city stoplights that can significantly reduce drivers’ average travel times. The software adjusts signal times at intersections distributed across the entire city, with the objective of trying to improve conditions across the entire city, while present systems are timed to local information
MIT researchers found found that the timings produced by their approach reduced the average travel time for commuters by 22 percent, compared with timings generated by commercial traffic-light timing software.
MIT is helping design timing systems that can adapt to changing traffic conditions in collaboration the New York City’s Department of Transportation, focusing on peak-period traffic in areas of Manhattan.
Even Better Times with V2I
Researchers at UR: BAN in Bruswick, Germany are devising a way for vehicles to “talk” to each other and to the traffic light control system. The data generated by the vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) system are fed into the traffic flow management system that analyzes data to optimize traffic flow on the fly.
The data can be used to suggest driver assistance systems the best speed to save fuel.
The system shares via mobile phone and car-to-infrastructure communications data collected about vehicle traffic on individual road sections, the traffic light circuit and the destination. Drivers get optimized route guidance, allowing the optimal flow of motorists around traffic light intersections.
The knowledge developed in the project will provide municipalities in Germany a guide to “Networked transport systems.
President Obama supports V2I efforts. IBM is working on platform that connects cars in a very useful ways. Students at the Institute of Computer Science and c4c Engineering at the Technical University of Clausthal have developed apps and prototypes to call drivers on their cell phones when they are driving the wrong way. Audi’s new Smart City Traffic Light Assistance tell you when the traffic light will turn green.