Future-proof your city’s streets with AI-enabled signal infrastructure
Traffic is more than just an annoyance. The rising number of cars on city streets increase emissions, cost the economy in lost revenue and threaten the safety of both pedestrians and drivers. Thanks to the popularity of ride-share and delivery apps, the road is busier than ever. And with self-driving cars on the horizon, congestion is only going to get worse.
This poses a challenge for municipal leaders. Today traffic lights are typically only measured and retimed every three years, some even less frequently. This might not have been a major concern prior to the pandemic, as rush hour times were fairly standard. With hybrid working models, however, it is near-impossible to predict the number of cars on each street at a given time.
Can cities predict traffic patterns?
Traffic signal management has remained largely unchanged for decades. However, as both populations and the number of cars on the road rise, the old methods are no longer able to control flow sufficiently. Even with the pandemic, there are still more than half a million vehicles registered in Canada each year. 1
Even with the pandemic, there are still more than half a million vehicles registered in Canada each year.
Much congestion on the road is unpredictable due to accidents, poor weather and construction. This makes it even more difficult for a city to control traffic flow. Only about one-quarter of traffic signals are connected to a network, with the rest requiring manual intervention for any changes.
Applying smart technology to city roads
To effectively minimize traffic in today’s municipalities, cities should consider taking a digital approach to their streets. By employing cameras, radar and AI-enabled detection, the Rogers Smart Traffic platform optimizes vehicle flow for real-time, automated traffic management based on unique behaviours at each intersection.
Three immediate benefits to applying smart traffic tools
Mitigating traffic on the roads is not only about reducing congestion. Such a move impacts an entire city, including pedestrians, air quality and even the response times of emergency vehicles.
1. Creating safer roadways and intersections
Unfortunately, injuries or fatalities on the road are not uncommon in cities. Real-time data from smart traffic technology allows for a holistic view of all types of street traffic–from vehicles to bicycles and pedestrians. This data helps to develop countermeasures and strategies to avoid common hazards. For example, traffic signals can give priority to pedestrians and ambulances, reducing their interaction with other vehicles on the road.
2. Reducing congestion and emission levels
As vehicles idle in traffic waiting to move, they release harmful emissions. This is particularly worrying as many cities are taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint and increase their sustainability. Smart traffic helps with this goal, as traffic lights can adapt to real-time movement at intersections to minimize bottlenecks.
3. Sourcing data for informed decision making
Municipalities must make informed decisions for the needs of their citizens. Obtaining comprehensive data on traffic patterns – including red-light violations, speeding and delays – can create more effective regulations regarding public transit, for instance. Importantly, this data is anonymized, so it is analyzed as a collective and not sourced to each individual, preserving privacy.
Overcoming legacy infrastructure to transform roads
Smart technology is already being employed in various industries to automate administration, streamline processes and standardize functions with ease. Cities face the challenge of implementing these technologies within the limits of their existing infrastructure. Rather than replace functioning equipment, Smart Traffic technology uses scalable overlaying hardware integrated with a wireless connection to relay data and make real-time adjustments.
Getting started: Next steps for your city
Priorities differ in each city, but traffic and street management have far-reaching implications and positive changes to a grid can make a lasting impact on daily life. For more information on smart cities, visit our website, review case studies or speak to a specialist now.