Traffic lights that can cut congestion by intelligently adjusting their cycles to real-time demands are to be rolled out in Britain next year.
Developed by urban mobility solution company Vivacity, the lights are able to skip certain phases of green if a junction is empty, giving priority to the roads with the highest traffic in order to reduce overall congestion.
They can also give priority to certain vehicle types, which are identified using cameras, in order to improve safety. Cyclists, buses and ambulances are among the list of vehicle types that could be given priority or earlier green phases.
Initially, 2500 of the new traffic lights will be installed across 50 miles of Milton Keynes so their cameras can gather data for the technology. Across 12 months of 'learning', the system’s use of artificial intelligence will help it to improve its understanding of each vehicle type to become more effective over time.
In the second half of next year, the data can then be used in Milton Keynes’ traffic management system, and its potential can be tested in real-world scenarios. It is hoped the system will attract interest from other councils so it is added to other regions.
The £3 million project is being part-funded by a £1.7 million grant from the UK’s innovation agency, with ambitions for it to help to cut the UK’s growing traffic issues.
Farther into the future, the system could integrate a warning system that alerts drivers of hazards, such as a cyclist passing in a lorry’s blind spot.