Twice a day, millions of cars are decelerated and re-accelerated at traffic lights that appear to be dumber than the dirt they are planted in. There is a tremendous cost to our society in energy and time for this travesty. It costs over a half million Joules to stop the average vehicle at average speed within 50 meters. The force required is over 10,000 N. And it costs way more to get it back up to speed due to inefficiencies. Further, in between, fuel continues to be consumed and our collective lives continue to dribble away. We should really use something other than lights, but if we must, then we should make them very smart. The project is applying mass flow rate analysis with light controlling algorithms, aided by foresight of appropriate sensors to avert the trillions of Joules of energy waste twice a day of vehicles stopping and going at lights.
This is a twinkle in our eyes at this point (Pi Day 2018). My students and I are jumping in to scope out resources and strategies for optimal flow to begin with.