The technology, which sits on the windscreen like a sat-nav, is designed to reduce congestion and pollution and help motorists drive more efficiently
There are certainly vehicles that should get priority either because it is urgent, or because of certain rules. Ambulance time is very relevant because for certain conditions, it is known that every minute counts to saving a patient’s life or their quality of life. There are trials of green-wave technology taking place right now in many cities around the world and they work, particularly where it is a predefined route, because it doesn’t put to much pressure on other parts of the network.
One of the ‘obvious when you think about it’ learnings is that as Isaac Newton said, “For each action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Traffic demand engineers spend a huge amount of time trying to generate harmonious interaction between intersection controls. They know that once a degree of harmony is in place, changes can have far reaching ripples throughout an urban network.
Managing a common route, say from a freeway to a hospital can be relatively easy and justified, especially if it is fundamentally one route.
This concept has been used for many years for urban bus routes, that effectively allow buses traveling at an optimal speed up a major route, typically a motorway feeder, can have green lights all the way.
The concept of a system being suggested here is very complex. It is something that will work in the future, but requires massive computing capability and the ramifications when it fails are significant, because the network has to be able to reset itself.
This would be a great concept to try with consumers at night when demand is low. We all hate getting stuck at red traffic lights late at night when there is no traffic coming the other way, in fact I’ve often seen frustrated motorists ‘run the red’ in those situations. Often successfully.
I believe an AI based transport network is possible when a critical mass of vehicles have appropriate technology and that has to start somewhere. Probably one of the biggest concerns is if we get to a point where it works and then it fails, due to power outages, or technology failures, do we then get such an utter “equal and opposite reaction” that we wind up with total gridlock?
So the question is how do we get from here to there? For me it is start with emergency services and public transport. If we can get that working effectively, we save lives and move more people more efficiently. Do that and we might even get more people out of their cars into those buses.