Connecting Cars to Traffic Lights to Save Lives

October 14, 2016 — Red lights are inherently dangerous. If you come to one, you might fail to stop and run into a car or pedestrian crossing with the light. You might run into the car in front of you if it stops suddenly as the light changes. Or the car behind you might not notice you stopping and hit you. There are a quarter-million red-light accidents in the US every year, 40% of which result in injuries or death. In 2014, 709 people were killed and around 126,000 injured in crashes that involved red-light running. Arriving at a red light is not just annoying, it can be a health hazard.

The US Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) estimates that 25% of red-light accidents could be avoided if traffic signals communicated with cars and drivers. The international Vision Zero initiative has the ambitious goal of eliminating serious traffic injuries and fatalities, which will require a broad range of innovations. Connected Signals’ real-time, predictive, traffic signal data can help make a significant step along the Vision Zero path. Knowing when lights will change lets us help drivers arrive at green lights (or warn them if they need to stop) and alert drivers who are failing to stop. Drivers stopped at a red light can be alerted to return their full attention to driving before the light turns green, possibly averting accidents when an impatient following driver honks, prompting a distracted driver to accelerate before checking that the intersection–and the crosswalk–are clear.

Connected Signals currently has signal data for over 11,000 intersections in over 100 cities on 3 continents, and our coverage is expanding rapidly. As more cities make their signal data available, the potential to improve road safety increases apace.


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