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How AI is helping control Traffic Lights and reducing congestions

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Green Light Traffic
 
A Mumbaikar loses 121 hours in traffic every year. A Delhite spends 110. Talking about traffic to a person living in Bengaluru is like touching a raw nerve. This is the same story for all the urban dwellers in the world.
Traffic congestions are a major source of frustration for so many people in the world. In addition to this, they are also a cause of noise pollution, air pollution, fuel wastage, and carbon emissions. Research has shown that pollution at intersections is 29 times more than open roads. Most of it is caused because of slowing and then abrupt accelerating of vehicles.
While it is impossible to completely eliminate stop and go at intersections, the traffic at intersections can be optimised significantly with use of technology. With an aim to do that, Google has deployed the use of Artificial Intelligence for improving efficiency of traffic light timings and configurations through Project Green Light.

What is Project Green Light?

Project Green Light is aimed at optimising the traffic light timings in a way to avoid or reduce congestions, thus reducing the stop and go instances at intersections. It makes use of Google AI and Google Maps driving trends with some of the strongest understandings of global road networks. Using this, it creates models of traffic patterns and build intelligent recommendations for city traffic engineers to make traffic flow more efficient. Early evaluations have indicated that there is a potential of reduction in stops by up to 30%, along with 10% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Through this method Google has claimed that it is possible to optimise each intersection and coordinate between adjacent intersections to create waves of green lights to further reduce stop and go traffic in the cities.
Project Green Light is now live in 70 intersections in 12 cities, 4 continents, from Haifa, Israel to Bangalore, India to Hamburg, Germany. This has allowed in lowering of emissions and fuel wastage for up to 30 million car rides every month.
Vineet Kumar Goyal, Commissioner of Police, Kolkata has said, “Green Light has become an essential component of Kolkata Traffic Police. It serves several valuable purposes which contribute to safer, more efficient, and organized traffic flow and has helped us to reduce gridlock at busy intersections. Since November 2022, we have implemented suggestions at 13 intersections. The outcome is excellent as per the feedback from commuters and traffic personnel.”

Conclusion

Artificial Intelligence has been so far viewed as a villain that can cost millions of people their jobs. However, when deployed effectively, it can not only solve problems that were otherwise too complicated to solve manually, but also do it in an affordable manner.