How Can Adaptive Traffic Controls Ease Daily Commute

Adaptive traffic control system (ATCS) is a traffic management strategy where the timing of traffic lights changes according to actual traffic demand. And the city of Aberdeen is among the first that plans to implement the system in order to optimize the daily commute in the urban environment.

Currently there are 15 traffic signals along Sixth Avenue governed with a master controller. “It’s far better than when they were all independent,” said Public Works Director Robin Bobzien. The length of the lights varies according to known traffic patterns for particular times of the day.

An adaptive system would go one step further. It would continuously keep track of the number of vehicles on the street and the wait time at intersections. The system would then adjust the length of the lights based on real-time data.

Image: Will we be seeing such traffic jams in the future? (source)

Sioux Falls, a city with almost 200.000 residents, already implemented adaptive traffic controls. In fact, it is the first city in South Dakota to have adaptive traffic control system. In their experience, the system does what it is supposed to do. Heath Hoftiezer, principal traffic engineer for Sioux Falls, said, traffic flow improvement was noticeable within the first week or two. However, reduction in commute time is not the only benefit. A 21 percent reduction in crashes was recorded in one of the areas controlled by the adaptive system.

They assume this is due to raised attention of drivers as the traffic lights pattern in less predictabe when controlled by adaptive control system. But the benefits like reduction of commute time and less car accidents make the system a good addition to other ‘Smart City Solutions’.

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