Digital Signage Solutions To Help Traffic Flow

Traffic is a big problem in cities around the world, and the number of cars on the road isn’t expected to decrease anytime soon. According to a study from IBM, 4 out of 5 motorists complained of having been stuck in a traffic jam at least once in the last 3 years, and nearly a third of those had been forced to turn around and go home because of the congestion. But the news isn’t all bad; technology is doing its part to help reduce congestion and the amount of time we have to spend on the road. Here are four examples from around the world.

1. New York, New York – Congestion is no stranger to Manhattan’s busy streets. But a new program called “Midtown in Motion” is working to change that by using field sensors, RFID readers and cameras to analyze traffic patterns. The idea of improving the traffic in Manhattan isn’t a new one; as far back as 2001 they were developing software to create “adaptive” traffic signals throughout the city. This system helps to optimize traffic flow by adapting the signal patterns according to the traffic volume. Midtown in Motion is expected to help reduce some of the $13 billion in revenue lost because of traffic congestion.

2. Sydney, Australia – Australia is a world leader in innovative traffic solutions. Since the 1970s, a program called SCATS (Sydney Coordinated Adaptive Traffic System) has been in place to improve traffic flow. It works by using cameras and other traffic sensors to analyze traffic patterns, then adapt traffic light rhythms accordingly. The system has proven so successful it’s now in use in cities like Mexico City, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Shanghai and more. A new update to SCATS gives traffic signal priority to city buses that are behind schedule, which helps get commuters to work on time.

3. Curitiba, Brazil – Traditional city planning says that a subway system should be installed when the population passes one million. Curitiba couldn’t afford a subway back in the ‘70s when they hit that mark, so instead they went with a “Rapid Bus Transit” system – and it’s become a hallmark of high-speed urban transit. The RBT is laid out like a subway throughout the city, and the buses travel on exclusive lanes.

The buses are equipped with sensors that allow communication with the traffic signals to let the buses travel quickly through the city. Over 2 million citizens use the system to get to work every day. Recent upgrades include engines that run on soybean biofuels and buses that can carry as many as 250 passengers – it’s no wonder Curitiba has some of the best air quality in Brazil.

4. Farmington Hills, Michigan – The recently installed Intellistreets traffic system works through a series of programmable LED streetlights. The light poles are equipped with microprocessors, cameras and sensors for monitoring traffic flow, allowing the lights to automatically dim or brighten depending on need. The poles can be used to display street names, and have banners which can display important information such as Amber Alerts, evacuation routes, special events or traffic warnings. It also displays in several languages and has a speaker for broadcasting messages to crowds. The main focus of the Intellistreet system is energy savings. Dimming the lights when they aren’t in use results in immediate saving. Dimming can be programmed according to time of day or traffic for most efficient use. While the system is expensive to intall, over 25 years the savings is 50% better than the best competition.

David is an AV engineer working for digital signage specialists Reflex. He loves keeping up to date with all the latest computer controlled projects that help to make our world work better

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