Los Angeles, California has become the poster child for terrible traffic, but the city is hoping its latest change will help speed things up.
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It’s just your luck – no matter where you go, you seem to hit every red light on the way to your destination. It would be awesome if there was a way to avoid them, or at least, minimze your wait time. Your luck is about to change, thanks to the SignalGuru app.
Developed by the researchers at MIT and Princeton, this new smartphone app will tell you what legal speed you should be driving so you can avoid having to stop and wait at red lights. Using the camera on your dashboard mounted smartphone, the SignalGuru app is able to connect to a wireless network and share information with others using the app, keeping current on the signal light status on the particular road you are traveling.
The SignalGuru app is being tested in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where traffic lights run on a fixed schedule. So far, this app has been able to help reduce fuel consumption by an average of 20 percent. It’s also been tested in Singapore, a city where traffic light timing is adjusted based on traffic flow, and the results weren’t as positive as in Cambridge. Not to fear – once the app hits the mainstream market and more drivers in any given city start using it to share traffic light data, the results should improve. There’s no official word on when that will be, but we’ll keep our eyes open for more information regarding its development.
Here’s a novel idea: Seattle have started posting different speed limit signs along I-5 now, depending on traffic volume.
Dubbed the Smarter Highways project and brought to you by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), these new signs serve multi purposes: to relieve congestion; to indicate when motorists should merge; or when a lane is closed due to construction or an accident.
“This type of information helps prevent the panic braking that causes collisions,” said WSDOT Toll Division Director Craig Stone. “This section of I-5 has a collision every day on average and we expect Smarter Highways to help reduce that.”
These types of signs have made an appearance on interstates around the country, but Washington’s system has regulatory power. That means if you don’t follow the instructions on the sign, you’ll get pulled over.
The project has been going strong for a week and the WSDOT is calling it a success so far. After the system was activated on August 10, speed limits changed right away, telling motorists to slow down as they were reaching a patch of slower traffic.
Not long after, the signs displayed merge arrows to move traffic around a medical emergency. The WSDOT said, “traffic flowed past the incident without sudden braking, last-minute lane changes, stops and collisions.”
Have you come across these types of signal in your travels? Let us know what you think of them, regardless if you have or not.