How many times have you been stopped at a red light when no one was coming either direction? You look left, you look right, and then you look inside yourself to question your propensity for breaking the law. In all seriousness, idling by your lonesome for a minute or more is costing you time, a few pennies (and hey, that adds up), and harms the environment (see previous post). Isn’t it time we integrate a real-time traffic system, one that increases flow and doesn’t leave you questioning your moral values to run a red light?
Traffic is dynamic – it is always moving and the density of cars on one particular stretch is always changing. The key to effectively managing its movement involves a data fusion from multiple sources, like cameras and tollbooths. This is known as crowd-sourced data, and it has very useful applications that can be found on the smart phone market. Apps like FieldLogix (for vehicle fleets), Waze, and Beat the Traffic use crowd-sourced data to create real-time traffic updates, turn by turn. By anticipating the traffic ahead, you not only save money on gas by not wasting your time waiting for it to clear, you also don’t add to the congestion.
As for the red lights, it’s only a matter of time before each intersection swaps the old timed method for motion sensors. If Bill Ford is correct in his prediction and there will one day be smart roads (where both car and road communicate to each other, as seen in this TED talk), there will be critical and major improvements with our current traffic lights. (Roundabouts anyone?) Reducing the idling time at red lights as well as keeping the traffic moving will help us all save money on gas. And that sounds pretty good to us.
For more information about real-time traffic data technology, check out this post by Matteo Luccio: Traffic Data Hits on Real-Time Needs.
Earthgarage – Greener Car. Fatter Wallet.