You know the drill – especially when it is late at night or in the wee hours of the morning, and you pull up at the traffic light only to spend a minute or so of your life at the intersection, impatiently tapping your fingers on the dashboard simply because the traffic lights for other roads are green, without any vehicle in sight. Why can’t the traffic light system actually detect just how the traffic in the surrounding area is like, and change dynamically to accommodate those low peak hours? Peter Stone, an associate professor of computer science at the University of Texas at Austin, thought along the same line and has proposed smarter traffic lights in order to make traffic flow more efficient (add more points for burning less guess with fewer minutes waiting for nothing).
Peter’s idea of a “reservation system” will see your vehicle “contact” an approaching traffic light in advance, where the traffic light in question will “listen” to all cars coming towards it simultaneously, keeping track of just which car (or cars) will be primed to go through before the other. Granted, it sounds really, really difficult to implement considering the amount of vehicles that we have on the roads these days, not to mention some crazy folks who accelerate when the light turns amber because they think that they can make it, hence increasing the risk of accidents in the process. Do you think a smart traffic light system is viable?