Smarter traffic signals to save time and gas

Have you ever approached a traffic light saying, "Stay green! Stay green!"? If you have, like most of us, then your wish is about to be granted. Denso, a Vista, CA based company, has created a system that allows communication between a traffic light controller and an approaching vehicle using what they call vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication using short range wireless transmitters. The communication system sends the traffic light controller data on approaching vehicles such as speed, whether a vehicle is accelerating or decelerating, vehicle type, and volume of traffic. Using the given information, the controller is able to make smarter choices when deciding whether to change as scheduled or delay the change long enough in order to optimize traffic flow. Some city buses are already equipped with the system, reducing the time spent waiting at red lights.

Employing this system will not only save drivers time, but fuel as well. Idling while waiting for a light to change at an intersection causes more emissions and all that "zero miles a gallon" time really cuts down on gas mileage. Additionally, accelerating from a stop to the speed of traffic uses much more fuel than maintaining speed. There is serious potential for a V2V communication system like this to save us time and money while also making our commutes greener, as long as there's no way to hack into the system to give clever people permanent greens.

[Source: Green Car Reports | Image: Horia Varlan – C.C. License 2.0]

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