Fighting Traffic With Smarter Traffic Lights

Do traffic signals need to be predictable? Researchers are experimenting with giving traffic lights a mind of their own, with the power to change with the flow of traffic, sensing when it would be most advantageous to be red or green.
September 21, 2010, 12pm PDT | Tim Halbur
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Of course, some tinkering with traffic patterns already occurs, but researchers thought, what if the signal could sense the need at its intersection and respond to it autonomously?

But, as Rebecca Boyle writes at Popular Science, "...this "jungle principle" of every light for itself does not result in harmony, the researchers said. If each traffic light responds to its immediate demands, then all the lights will just react to the traffic coming from nearby intersections, which defeats the purpose of a smart network.

The solution is a decentralized approach that lets the traffic lights work together..."

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Published on Monday, September 20, 2010 in Popular Science
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