Traffic Flow


Transportation experts say that revamping the way signals work will reduce congestion, save fuel costs, cut down on air pollution and make the roads safer.

Notice the high mounted cameras on the top of the horizontal pole. This shows that this intersection has Lakewood’s latest and greatest red light tech. It’s called an ‘adaptive’ system which uses electromagnetic loops (under the pavement), video cameras, and radar, and algorithms that work in real time. The signals essentially figure out how much traffic is coming their way and adapt automatically to change their timing.
You might have noticed that this signal sometimes gives a green turn arrow first, sometimes it gives a green to straight through traffic. It’s actually looking at what traffic is at the intersection. Cool.

In the next few years Lakewood will be revamping more and more of our intersections to this technology.

But that’s just a start. Already Audi vehicles can contain a feature called ‘Audi connect system’, where the car gets updates as to when a light is about to change. (I’m not sure how this differs from watching for a yellow light, and doing what comes natural) But someday our self driving vehicles will be talking to the red lights and they will be talking back. So that traffic moves smoothly. (I have my doubts about that)

My thought is why can’t we use the current technology of these ‘smart(er)’ intersections to create a network where all this info is fed into a central computer which is running an artificial intelligence program to figure out how to move traffic the most effectively. I would think that this would end the process of waiting at one red light, getting the green, moving to the next red light where you stop again (repeat). Ugh.