Over time, the traffic situation in the city is becoming more and more frustrating as the population continues to explode. When it comes to driving in the city, being caught in traffic is really undesirable.
Luckily, some researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have come up with a solution. They have claimed that they have discovered a way to reduce a city driver’s travel time by up to 40%, as well as lower carbon emission, lessen congestion, and prevent accidents.
Virtual Traffic Lights and How it Works
Virtual Traffic Lights, which is an emerging vehicle-to-vehicle technology, is primarily designed for road efficiency. The concept behind it is to transfer the traffic control from fixed street signals to the cars themselves.
“This technology basically buys you universal traffic control in each intersection,” Ozan Tonguz, a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon University, explained. “The system makes traffic lights smart in the sense that it takes into consideration the number of vehicles that are present in each direction, and so it adjusts the cycle duration.”
In addition, Tonguz said that Virtual Traffic Light technology can be used as a standalone technology for traffic management. He even added, “The Virtual Traffic Light could also be used in combination with autonomous cars and congestion pricing, which is used by IBM and several other companies in different countries to mitigate congestion during rush hours.”
To explain how the technology actually works, Ozan Tonguz has provided a simple explanation: “When the driver is looking through the windshield, they’ll see that going straight is a green light, and turning right is a red light. It’s a seamless process as the driver doesn’t need to get involved in this decision-making process.”
After the driver has passed through the intersection, the virtual traffic light will automatically disappear.
Goals of Virtual Traffic Lights
The startup company truly has something going on with this technology, and they have a very venerable set of goals like aiming for a greener environment, for instance.
The most important goal of Virtual Traffic Lights is to give people their life back. Surely, most people believe that time is precious. Time lost cannot be taken back, after all. The average driver spends 15 hours each week just commuting. Now, wouldn’t it be nice to cut that time in half and give people more time to spend with their loved ones?
Since less time is being spent on the road, we have more time to spend doing what we love to do; there is increased productivity not only in work but also in the personal lives of people. That is another goal of Virtual Traffic Lights.
Another goal is to improve general safety and reduce traffic fatalities. Because the technology can effectively function as a traffic system anywhere and because traffic lights at every intersection improve safety, there is a substantial increase in safety on highways and other road segments.
As mentioned earlier, having a greener environment is also a goal of Virtual Traffic Lights. Because drivers spend less time on the road, it leads to less pollution and reduction in carbon footprint of vehicles.
Lastly, Virtual Traffic Lights hope to improve the health and quality of life of people. It cannot be denied that traffic tends to induce stress, road rage, and pollution; all of which are bad for people’s health. And so if people spend less time getting stuck in traffic, their health and quality of life are considerably improved.
When it Will Be Available in the Market
It isn’t clear yet when the Virtual Traffic Lights will be sold in the market since it hasn’t been tested in a real-world setting. In fact, the biggest obstacle of Virtual Traffic Lights is to get the government to test the system in the real world.
When asked about it, Tonguz only said, “In my mind, the argument here is so compelling, the benefits so compelling; it’s not a matter of if but a matter of when.”