Print 14 comment(s) - last by Souka.. on Aug 28 at 2:08 PM

The study found that humans are better at controlling traffic than current computers

A new study says that humans are much better at controlling traffic in urban areas than current computer systems, leading to the development of new ones based on artificial intelligence.
Researchers from the University of Southampton conducted a study that found humans to be better traffic controllers than existing computer systems. They made this discovery through testing for BBC's "One Show," where the host used a laptop to control a traffic light junction at the InnovITS. Thirty drivers then attempted to reach an agreement on the accuracy of the traffic light. It showed that human controllers beat computers when it came to road congestion. 
As a traffic solution, the researchers have started developing traffic control computers that are capable of learning from experience the way humans do through artificial intelligence. 
"The demonstration carried out at InnovITS Advance indicates that the human brain, carefully employed, can be an extremely effective traffic control computer," said Dr. Simon Box of the University of Southampton Transportation Research Group. "In our research we aim to be able to emulate this approach in a new kind of software that can provide significant benefits in improving the efficiency of traffic flow, hence improving road space utilization, reducing journey times and potentially improving fuel efficiency."
Automakers have even started creating systems that can prevent traffic jams, like Honda, which partnered with the University of Tokyo to make new driving assistants. These systems track the behavior of the vehicle and determines if its pace could cause a traffic jam. However, the University of Southampton's AI system could take this to another level. 


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Why the call them "stop" lights
By bildan on 8/27/2012 9:55:20 PM , Rating: 2
I was astride my motorcycle in the lane next to a nice lady in a convertible at an interminable red light. The cross street had no traffic whatsoever. The lady opens the conversation with, "Why doesn't it turn green?". "There's no one for it to stop on the cross street", I replied.

Presently, two packs of cars approach the light from opposite directions on the cross street. The light obediently turned red in their direction and let us pass. I got a nice smile from the lady as we went our ways.

RE: Why the call them "stop" lights
By nocturne_81 on 8/28/2012 12:29:37 AM , Rating: 3
The best solutions are often the simplest.. I'd imagine these situations could be solved more easily by implementing more turnabouts and switching all traffic lights in low traffic areas to 4-way stops at night.

RE: Why the call them "stop" lights
By etikka on 8/28/2012 5:51:10 AM , Rating: 2
That's what they've been doing in Finland and it works.

The stop lights go off during the night. The time they're off depends on the traffic in the area.

Also turnabouts have become more and more common during the past two decades. They usually make the traffic flow better and the accidents are less severe than in normal crossroads because there are no head on crashes etc.

RE: Why the call them "stop" lights
By drlumen on 8/28/2012 12:51:53 PM , Rating: 2
They do something similar in most towns in the US. For example, where I live, all the secondary cross road signals flash red from 11:00PM to 5:00AM and the main thoroughfares flash yellow. The major intersections still work as normal though.

It doesn't help any during rush hours but it prevents waiting at a light for a long time at night.

RE: Why the call them "stop" lights
By Souka on 8/28/2012 2:08:36 PM , Rating: 3
Problems with "turnabouts" or roundabouts here in the US is you lose control of the traffic flow.

As an example a roundabout with 4 entrance points...say North, East South, West.

Heavy traffic traveling North continues North through roundabout.
Heavy traffic traveling South continues South through roundabout.

The result is East and West approaching traffic have a difficult time entering the traffic pattern.

In Washington State there are several roundabouts during rush-hour that this occurs... resulting in backups of 50-100 cars in the East and West direction.

Anyhow... most city planners do not like roundabouts as you lose control. Yes they can have bypasses added and even traffic lights....

My $.02 working 5 years at a civil engineering office which did roadway design as part of it's services.

By Chernobyl68 on 8/28/2012 12:21:52 PM , Rating: 2
could be the light is pretimed, not in a coordinated system, or does not have adequate advanced detection. Could be detectors are not working.

By Farfignewton on 8/28/2012 12:37:36 PM , Rating: 2
Presently, two packs of cars approach the light from opposite directions on the cross street. The light obediently turned red in their direction and let us pass.

I have seen this enough times to make you wonder if someone was doing it on purpose somehow. On the other hand, if you push a crosswalk button for the direction you to travel, it will usually trip the signal.

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