Smart Stop Lights

COMM 205

Traffic in College Station is beginning to feel like this...

Weird Al Traffic Jam

By: Alexandria Valdez

Help Us Help You!

It is evident to see that traffic is a problem in College Station, but it is clearer to see that Smart Traffic Lights is the solution. With the use of synchronized stop lights the environment and the residents of College Station, Texas will be greatly benefited.


The use of Smart Stoplights will result in a reduced amount of toxins released into the environment. In an article from ucsusa.org entitled "Car Emissions and Global Warming", It is estimated that 24 pounds of carbon dioxide and other global-warming gases are released every gallon of gas. On average, that's 288 pounds of carbon dioxide that is being leaked into the environment by stalled vehicles. In addition, 0.045 g/min of the pollutant VOC is released from light-duty gasoline-fueled vehicles according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Lastly, Jennifer King from sfgate.com states that of the pollutants that vehicles emit, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur oxides have huge impacts on the ecosystem.

By Dominic Di Biaggio

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Help Combat the Effects of the Population Boom with our Technology!

Josh Sanburn of Time Magazine states that as of 2014, only 3% of the nation’s traffic signals are adaptive (Sanburn). In this ever growing nation, especially College Station with population estimates growing into the hundreds of thousands (Demographic Profile), our traffic lights need to be kept up to date with the rest of our adaptive technologies. One way to fix the current and impending traffic problems in College Station is to have the lights be able to ‘read’ their surroundings, and the benefits from this technology will especially be visible when navigating across major roads.

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The LeddarTech Camera Will Make Traffic Lights 'Smart' as Advertised

Our idea of using the LeddarTech camera provides a cost effective way of implementing very advanced technology, allowing us to effectively control traffic and benefit the community. Francis Govers’s review of the camera in GizMag prices the camera at $400 (Govers). According to our own data collection, there are 28 stoplights on the major roads within College Station, making our material purchase around $45000. Also, according to WSDOT, the cost to build an entire intersection with traffic signals costs $450,000, so our additional $400 expense would be miniscule in comparison to the entire intersection (Roundabout Information and Benefits). This money spent would be an investment; Mark Taylor, an innovator in signal engineering, states that money spent on updating traffic signals can pay back 40-1, as waiting in traffic throws away about $120 billion from the American economy each year (Barry). Finally, the technology acquired from this camera for such a low cost is astounding. According to Govers, this kind of camera uses multiple LED frequencies to acquire data, making it one of the most accurate sensors available (Govers). This sensor with its extraordinary accuracy and durability, can withstand the demanding weather conditions in College Station while also being able to read cars at all times of the day, allowing for this solution to work as effectively as possible (LeddarTech).


While traffic at night isn’t exactly terrible, making people stop for minutes at a time with no one else on the road is unnecessary. With our solution, if there is no one on the road and you approach one of these stoplights, you will be allowed to go immediately. Especially late at night, keeping anyone on the road for too long isn’t necessary and it is often dangerous, so expediting the process by improving traffic lights is a wise way to improve life in the area. Aside from the stats and monetary value of this discussion, no one likes traffic, especially when it is unnecessary, so why not fund a solution that is going to work at reducing it in the area and reduce one of the many stressors in our everyday lives?

Bibliography

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By: Nicole Johnson

When in Rome... (or LA)

Idiotic. Erratic. Unfathomable. Chaotic. Inefficient. Sad. Unbearable. Satanic.


When asked to describe the traffic in College Station, these were some resident’s responses. It’s no question that College Station traffic needs to be improved, and Smart Stoplights is the answer. But how do we know these work? We look to another city as our model - Los Angeles. These Smart Stoplights in LA are much more advanced and highly adaptive than traditional stop lights.


“Los Angeles has one of the nation’s worst reputations for automobile congestion” according to Edward Yu. To combat this, they synchronized over 4,000 of their stoplights to make travel time more efficient and help the flow of traffic. The City of Los Angeles recently posted on their website that this traffic system would “enable traffic engineers to monitor traffic conditions and make real-time signal timing adjustments to handle emergencies and special events.” This has allowed LA to reduce travel time by twelve percent on major LA roads, and average speed of traffic is up from 15 miles per hour to 17.3 miles per hour.


There are two main similarities between College Station and Los Angeles that would make these Smart Stoplights feasible here in College Station; The roads they are implemented on and population growth. These Smart Stoplights in Los Angeles are used on “surface streets” which are comparable to streets here in College Station such as Texas, Wellborn, George Bush and University. These surface streets in LA are heavily traveled according to Jon Bruner, much like our four major roads are, and are also the source of much of the congestion. These smart stoplights have cut down wait time in traffic on these roads, and would do the same for the roads here in college station since they are so similar.


Megan Pantak says that by “reducing travel times, synchronized traffic lights allow more people to travel,” and according to the US Census Bureau, with College Station seeing a 10% increase in population as compared to the 3.6% increase Los Angeles has seen these smart stoplights need to be implemented to allow for easier travel. However, College Station has a population of 2,655 people per square mile. The City of Los Angeles boasts around 8,377 residents per square mile. If LA can see improvements with almost quadruple the amount of residents per square mile that we have, you can only imagine the considerable changes that could come to College Station with significantly less dense population per square mile.


I hope that after explaining the way Smart Stoplights have positively impacted Los Angeles and showing you the similarities LA has to College Station that you will see how important these will be to improving the flow of traffic here. If implemented, Smart Stoplights will be vital to cutting down commute times and relieving the congestion. I hope that you will allow my team to follow in the footsteps of LA and implement these smart stoplights, because as George Bernard Shaw says, “Imitation is not just the sincerest form of flattery - its the sincerest form of learning.”

By: Bethany Kimble

Smart traffic lights
The city of Toronto has implemented Smart traffic lights into the congested city and found that they are cutting down wait times at lights by 40%. This video features Christina Stevens from Global News as she explains Smart Stoplights in Toronto, how they work, and their effects.

Traditional Traffic Lights Are So Last Year

Smart Stoplights are what the city of College Station needs in order to fix the traffic congestion issue. The current traffic light system is outdated and does not have the advance capabilities that Smart Stoplights have to be able to organize and direct large amounts of traffic flow in the most efficient way possible. They are not sufficient enough to handle the traffic congestion that this city faces because they lack the ability to adapt to real time traffic conditions. According to S.S. Chavan, traditional traffic light systems function according to predetermined programs which do not have the flexibility of making effective adjustment on a real time basis. According to Carlos Gershenson, traditional stoplights are blind to “abnormal” situations, such as many vehicles arriving or leaving a certain place at the same time. Also, the current stoplight system cannot proactively take possible delays into account such as accidents, bad weather, or construction.


Another reason stops lights are not sufficient enough to handle traffic congestion is because they lack the proper synchronization with each other. According to Jim Resnick in an article on bbc.com,Time and distance between traffic lights are the critical traffic-flow “levers” and if timing is off, even by one second, traffic flow can be greatly impacted.” According to Carlos Gershenson, a traffic light system will be more efficient if, for a given car density, it increases the average speeds of vehicles by reducing the number of times it has to stop. This could be achieved with proper synchronization which College Station traffic lights lack.



Smart Stoplights would be beneficial to College Station because they have the technology to adapt to the most current traffic conditions and synchronize with each other to allow for smoother traffic flow. Smart Stoplights have the technology to think for themselves and make adjustments on a based on the most current traffic conditions. An article on Mccain.com stated that "Smart stoplights use a system of fiber optic video receivers which allow controllers to monitor and change traffic signals in real time." Lou Blouin from The Allegheny Front stated that the "Smart Stoplights computer algorithm figures out how long to leave the green lights green and the red lights red in order to maximize traffic flow in all directions.


Smart Stoplights also have the ability to communicate with each other and work in synchronization. Terry Little, a traffic services manager for ACHD, said Smart Stoplights have the ability to pick up data from the intersection where it’s installed and also from other traffic lights, cameras, and detectors along the road. Smart Stoplights lights are constantly talking to each other, so neighboring signals can stay in coordination with each other to keep traffic flowing. Kevin Balke, a research engineer at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, stated that what makes smarts stoplights unique is that they don’t have to constantly communicate with a centralized computer system like traditional stoplights, instead they communicate with each other.


All in all, the current stoplight system in College Station is not advanced enough to effectively direct traffic flow. Smart Stoplights have what it takes to tackle the traffic congestion in this city.

Bibliography:

· Bergal, Jenni. "States and Cities Try Smarter Signals to Reduce Red Lights." The Pew Charitable Trust. N.p., 11 Mar. 2015. Web. 3 Dec. 2015. <http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/stateline/2015/3/11/states-and-cities-try-smarter-signals-to-reduce-red-lights>.


· Blouin, Lou. "Pittsburgh's Smart Traffic Lights Are Taking a Bite Out of Vehicle Pollution." The Allegheny Front. The Allegheny Front, 30 Oct. 2015. Web. 02 Dec. 2015. <http://www.alleghenyfront.org/story/pittsburgh%E2%80%99s-smart-traffic-lights-are-taking-bite-out-vehicle-pollution>.


· Chavan, S. S., R.S. Deshpande Deshpande, and J. G. Rana. "Design of Intelligent Traffic Light Controller Using Embedded System." Preface.IEEE Xplore. Aurangabad: M. E. Electron, 2009. N. pag. Research Gate. Web. 2 Dec. 2015.

<http://www.researchgate.net/publication/224106688_Design_of_Intelligent_Traffic_Light_Controller_Using_Embedded_System>.


· Gershenson, Carlos. "Self Organizing Traffic Lights." Complex Systems (2005): n. pag. Web. 2 Dec. 2015. <http://www.complex-systems.com/pdf/16-1-2.pdf>.

· Heaton, Brian. "Smart Traffic Signals Get a Green Light." Government Technology. N.p., 15 Feb. 2012. Web. 02 Dec. 2015. <http://www.govtech.com/transportation/Smart-Traffic-Signals-Get-a-Green-Light.html>.


· Resnick, Jim. "How Smart Traffic Signals May Ease Your Commute." BBC. N.p., 18 Mar. 2015. Web. 02 Dec. 2015. <http://www.bbc.com/autos/story/20150317-how-smart-traffic-signals-may-ease-your-commute>.


· "'Smart' Traffic Signals Cut Air Pollution in Pittsburgh." McCain. McCain, Inc, 25 Sept. 2012. Web. 03 Dec. 2015. <http://www.mccain-inc.com/news/industry-news/its-solutions/769-smart-traffic-signals-cut-air-pollution-in-pittsburgh.html>.

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By: Anna Fosdick

The Best Team for the Job

What does College Station have in common with Los Angeles? The vision to reduces traffic and pollution in their city and improve the travel time and environment of their citizens. Synchronized stop lights “promote a sense of flow and easiness on the road, and they reduce pollution, because a car running smoothly runs cleaner than a car stopping-and-starting” says Robinson Meyer with the Atlantic. (Meyer, Robinson)


My team and I are the ones who will effectively complete your request for solving the problem of traffic in College Station. We will use the way Los Angeles implemented Smart Stop Lights as an example of how we will implement them in College Station on a smaller scale. Furthermore, my team and I will implement Smart Stop Lights in the most effective and cost efficient way.

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In 2013, “Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa flipped the switch on a final traffic intersection system that will result in the synchronization of all of nearly 4,400 traffic signals in Los Angeles.” (CBS Los Angeles) They synchronized “100% of the traffic signals in the city of Los Angeles to improve traffic flow and minimize congestion.” (City of Los Angeles) “Thanks to the program, travel times in the city dropped by 12 percent, said Jaime de la Vega, general manager of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation.” (Begley, Dug)


Synchronized stop lights has been successful based off of valid data that has come in over the years. “The first phase of this Program was completed in September 1995. 39 routes and 780 signalized intersections along 220 miles of streets in 58 cities and unincorporated areas were improved at an estimated cost of $17 million. Estimates show that this Program has saved motorists, on an annual basis, 468 million in vehicle costs, 31.9 million travel hours, 38.6 million gallons of fuel, and 10,100 tons of pollutants to date. Travel times were reduced by as much as 24 to 29 percent.” (Traffic Signal Synchronization) The second phase was completed in 2013 and has reduced “nearly 1 metric ton of pollution annually and saves you 1 day of waiting in traffic” says the mayor of Los Angeles Antonio Villaraigosa. (CBS Los Angeles) Both phase put together cost $400 million.

Smart Stop Lights in College Station, Texas

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By using the example of Los Angeles as a guide, we will implement smart stoplights in College Station in the most effective way. Los Angeles took two phases to put smart stoplights in action. But in College Station we will only use one. In this single phase we will implement synchronized stoplights on all the main roads in College Station that have the most traffic build up; George Bush, Texas, and University. It took LA 30 years to have 100% of their traffic lights synchronized. But by my own calculations and based on the smaller size of College Station only 5 years to have the synchronization up and running fully.


The “typical TSSP (Traffic Signal Synchronization Program) project involves upgrading all the traffic signals along a route to keep the signals synchronized, placing vehicle detectors in the pavement to detect the presence of vehicles, coordinating the timing of the signals between successive intersections, and automatically adjusting the traffic signals to facilitate the movement of vehicles through the intersections.” (Traffic Signal Synchronization) We know that when you are doing any city enhancement, the safety of our citizens and the environment is very important. We have an excellent team who knows the importance of leaving no mark on the environment and who has the safety of citizens the top priority. Construction to put in place smart stop lights will be done at night so that it will not interfere with the daytime traffic. Furthermore, construction will be done in the Spring so that it will not interfere with the football season and the traffic that comes along with that.


“Synchronized traffic lights have become one of the most effective ways to deal with traffic in many cities” says Dug Begley with the Houston Chronicle. (Begley, Dug) My team and I will effectively complete this bid and solve the problem of traffic in College Station.