Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the future of traffic management. The use of AI will allow for the coordination and monitoring of traffic patterns, pedestrian movement, air quality, and other metrics through intersections and along roadways.
Intersections, in particular, frequently experience issues such as accidents and backups due to their design, the timing of traffic lights, the number of vehicles or pedestrians in the area, and other factors.
With a smart traffic system all of these concerns can be addressed, helping traffic management professionals to identify the problem and make adjustments to reduce risk and improve traffic flow in that area.
Current Options for Traffic Management
Currently, traffic management is handled through lights and signage, along with red-light cameras, light-triggering sensors, and studies to further understand the traffic patterns in the area. Sensors in the roadway can register the weight of a vehicle and signal the light to change, allowing the vehicle to move through the intersection.
Buttons at street level can be used by pedestrians, to trigger the “walk” signal, and cameras on the top of the traffic lights will photograph the license plate of a vehicle crossing the intersection when the light is red. All of these options work well, but have one major downside: they are not linked together in ways that help planners determine what adjustments need to be made.
Studying the patterns of traffic (both vehicular and pedestrian) in the area provides knowledge regarding how to make these adjustments, but that takes time and can be costly. The available options for the management of traffic have served their purpose relatively well, but now there are new and better options that can bring down costs and make tracking and adjusting traffic patterns much easier for the future.
The Future Lies in a Smart Traffic System
The Internet of Things (IoT) and AI are significant components of smart traffic systems. These systems allow traffic management professionals to collect massive amounts of data about roadways and intersections. Sensors and signals in those areas all work together through a universal IoT gateway to analyze data so that professionals can adjust traffic patterns related to the current demand, reduce backups, and keep traffic moving during busier times of the day.
Third-party systems such as Weather and Google Traffic can also be used to supplement where cameras are not in place, providing a more comprehensive picture. Traffic management professionals are installing these AI systems where available, as these systems offer enhanced safety and intelligent design, packaged in one solution for a more manageable traffic flow with fewer risks.
The Benefits of a Smart Traffic System
Access to high-quality data is efficient and convenient with smart traffic systems, as is monitoring and enforcement. For example, someone who is running red lights, speeding, driving the wrong way on a one-way street, or otherwise creating risk on the roadways can be fined without ever being pulled over.
A smart traffic management system can detect the problem, photograph the license plate, and use that information to locate the driver, who will then be mailed a ticket, court summons, or other paperwork related to their erratic or dangerous driving habits. Having a smart traffic system in place also makes it easier to detect heavy traffic and congestion, so adjustments can be made to improve traffic flow.
Accidents are detected by smart traffic management options, as well, which can reduce the time it takes for EMS to arrive on scene. That could be the difference between life and death for someone involved in a serious car accident, or anyone experiencing a medical event behind the wheel.
The largest opportunity for traffic management with a smart system is the overarching ability to create a cohesive view of what is happening on the roadways. The connectivity created by these systems provides a seamless solution that can be used to move traffic smoothly, protect pedestrians, and determine what adjustments are needed for future improvement.
The Future of Traffic Management and Monitoring
As the future of traffic management unfolds, both DOT and community planners will begin switching to smart traffic management systems. This provides a higher level of safety, security, and convenience for their communities. Use of IoT and AI technology allows for real-time monitoring, and as the technology advances there will be increased opportunity for additional improvements.
At EPIC iO, we are a leading provider of AI and IoT solutions. We understand the need for quality information to monitor and improve today’s roadways. With our DeepInsights platform we provide IoT, AI, integrated connectivity, and more.
This platform is the connective tissue that brings AI, data analysis, and real-time feedback together, for actionable information. Using this platform for traffic management allows traffic management professionals to move vehicles efficiently, reduce pedestrian risk, and provide a better, more fluid experience on the roadways in their communities.