Promising New Tech Aims to Improve Traffic Flow in Major Cities

Promising New Tech Aims to Improve Traffic Flow in Major Cities

by Chana Weinman

Efforts to harness artificial intelligence to streamline traffic are already being tested through Project Green Light, with the goal of bringing the streamlined process to major cities, including New York City, to combat gridlock nationwide.

Project Green Light optimizes traffic lights to reduce vehicle emissions in cities and improve urban mobility. The project is in use in Seattle, where the pilot program is being tested to see how successfully it will combat gridlock. Project Green Light uses Google's Maps database and an AI component that optimizes traffic lights and suggests changes to city engineers. Shifting a traffic pattern by just a few seconds can result in tremendous improvements in the traffic pattern. 

"By optimizing each intersection and coordinating between adjacent intersections, we can create waves of green lights and help cities further reduce stop-and-go traffic," Google shares about its new project. "Green Light is now live in 70 intersections in 12 cities, four continents, from Haifa, Israel to Bangalore, India to Hamburg, Germany – and in these intersections, we are able to save fuel and lower emissions for up to 30M car rides monthly."

The Green Light dashboard shares city-specific actionable recommendations showing supporting trends for each recommendation, with the option to accept or reject the suggestion. After a recommendation has been implemented, the dashboard shows a post-implementation impact analysis report to review the success of the recommendation.

So far, the Seattle pilot is seeing results in clearing gridlock in some city regions. Google believes utilization of its program can reduce city stop-and-go traffic by up to 30% and a 10% reduction in vehicle emissions. 

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