Smart traffic lights in Kathmandu

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Smart traffic lights or Intelligent traffic lights are a vehicle traffic control system that combines traditional traffic lights with an array of sensors and artificial intelligence to intelligently route vehicle and pedestrian traffic.

With the growing of vehicle amount, how to keep an efficient and regulated traffic is the main challenge that most of cities are facing. Dahua smart traffic signal solution offers capacities of traffic flow monitoring and traffic signal optimizing. It supports to adjust the traffic signal interval of one or multiple intersections according to the real-time traffic flow collected by cameras or other devices which helps transportation authority to relief road congestion and adapt to different kinds of road situations instantly.

A technology for smart traffic signals has been developed at Carnegie Mellon University and is being used in a pilot project in Pittsburgh in an effort to reduce vehicle emissions in the city. Unlike other dynamic control signals that adjust the timing and phasing of lights according to limits that are set in controller programming, this system combines existing technology with artificial intelligence.

The signals communicate with each other and adapt to changing traffic conditions to reduce the amount of time that cars spend idling. Using fiber optic video receivers similar to those already employed in dynamic control systems, the new technology monitors vehicle numbers and makes changes in real time to avoid congestion wherever possible. Initial results from the pilot study are encouraging: the amount of time that motorists spent idling at lights was reduced by 40% and travel times across the city were reduced by 25%.

With suburbs receding and cities growing, one major challenge is accommodating more cars moving over a fixed number of roads. One important tool will be traffic signals that use better data and automated algorithms to keep traffic flowing more smoothly. These so-called Intelligent Traffic Systems were pioneered in the U.S. in Los Angeles, in advance of the 1984 Olympic games, but they’re just beginning to catch on in mid-sized cities—and the impacts will be huge.

Tim Funderburk sits at one epicenter of change. He’s the traffic signal coordinator for St. Petersburg, Florida, a peninsular city of a quarter million people. Most days, you’ll find Funderburk in a low concrete office in central St. Pete, in front of an eight-foot wide desk bearing four large monitors showing graphs, maps, and charts. From here, Funderburk controls St. Pete’s more than 300 traffic signals, using information from regular manual traffic counts, emails and phone calls from citizens and agencies, and his own frequent drives around town.

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