How adaptive traffic light control benefits Smart Cities
This article was originally published in Straßenverkehrstechnik Magazine (September 2023).
In Smart Cities, the focus lies on efficiency, safety, and environmental protection. The key to achieving these goals is seamless traffic management.
An indispensable tool in pursuit of this goal is adaptive traffic light control, a game-changer for enhancing urban traffic flow and erasing the problem of unnecessary wait times. This, in turn, not only mitigates emissions such as CO2 and NOx but also mutes the cacophony of congested streets and minimizes fine particulate pollution.
Among the many options for adaptive traffic light control, one technology stands out: radar sensors. What makes them so exceptional? Even in adverse weather and visibility conditions, radar sensors continue to provide valuable data. Unlike other technologies, such as induction loops or cameras, radar sensors deliver the exact speed of traffic participants - which is crucial for calculating the estimated arrival time at the stop line. Sensor installation can be integrated into existing infrastructure, which significantly lowers installation costs, especially when compared to induction loops. Unlike optical devices, radar sensors are very hassle-free and do not incur endless maintenance, calibration, and cleaning costs.
Just one smartmicro radar sensor is fully capable of collecting the data necessary for adaptive traffic light control at both: the stop line and in the distant area. This proactive traffic situation recognition allows granting green-light requests, extending green phases, and, if so desired, prioritizing specific road users, such as pedestrians or cyclists.
One of the crucial elements of effective adaptive traffic light control is a comprehensive understanding of the speed dynamics of all road users. smartmicro sensors feature a patented principle for highly accurate speed determination while simultaneously capturing other relevant data – from precise positioning to the classification of road users. This treasure trove of data fuels real-time control mechanisms and facilitates the concurrent generation of traffic statistics.
Smart cities can achieve a harmonious traffic flow by utilizing real-time data from radar sensors for responsive traffic signal control. This leads to energy savings, contributing to both environmental protection and economic efficiency. Reduced traffic congestion enhances air quality, traffic safety, and, in turn, the quality of life in cities.