Emissions that occur at traffic lights can be 29 times higher than on open roads.
These emissions, called ‘stop-and-go emissions’ increase when cars are stuck at traffic lights.
To drive down these emissions, cities can optimise several adjacent intersections to create waves of green lights, improving traffic flow.
However, many city traffic engineers rely on outdated, difficult and costly configurations. Data comes from expensive sensors or manual vehicle counts, which do not give engineers the data they need to make the right changes.
How do we navigate our way out?
Google has now hit the pedal to the metal, by launching an AI-based solution that uses Google Maps to curb emissions.
The solution, aptly named ‘Project Green Light’ has been taken for a test drive in 70 intersections in 12 cities, including Manchester, Bali and Abu Dhabi.
Project Green Light can use driving trends to make recommendations for optimising traffic light plans that city engineers can implement in as little as five minutes, using existing infrastructure.
How does Project Green Light work?
Green Light is based on an AI model of each intersection. It can outline its structure, traffic patterns, light scheduling, and how traffic and light schedules interact. Crucially, it analyses the interaction between traffic lights in minutes, providing the data city engineers need to create a smooth drive.
“Green Light identified opportunities where we previously had no visibility and directed engineers to where there were potential benefits in changing signal timings. This provided valuable insights for our city with 2,400 traffic signals,” David Atkin from Transport for Greater Manchester said.
The drive towards sustainability is now in the fast lane, as tech giants like Google step up to the plate.
The move is a reminder that green tech can be in the driver’s seat on the journey to a cleaner, greener environment.
As this fast-paced industry continues to gain momentum, the growth promises an exciting journey which will continue to transform the way we interact with our emissions.