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Wireless Data Reduces High-speed Accidents in the U.S.

To reduce speed-related casualties related to vehicles running red lights, researchers have developed technology to dynamically extend the duration of traffic lights. According to the Federal Highway Administration, traffic signals are prime locations for accidents, with more than 2 million crashes and 3,000 fatalities a year.

Technology developed by Purdue University’s Joint Transportation Research Program and the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) will collect data from wireless transmitters installed in vehicles, calculate the speed and trajectory of oncoming vehicles and communicate that information to the signal, which uses embedded intelligence to adjust the time the light stays green or to change to a yellow light earlier than necessary.

Because the technology is built on the wireless transmission of data rather than sensors embedded in the roadway, the solution requires much less infrastructure investment. The technology has been initially designed for large vehicles and semi-trailers that need more stopping distance and are therefore twice as likely to run a red light.

To reduce crashes, the key idea is to provide dilemma-zone protection. One would think yellow time can be extended; however, drivers tend to adapt to this, resulting in lower probabilities of stopping. The system can extend the green light to ensure that vehicles can clear the intersection; however, when there are multiple vehicles competing for green time, the system will flash the yellow light before the cars enter the dilemma zone.

The wireless devices will be placed in both the traffic lights and in vehicles, many of which are already coming off assembly lines with built-in high-bandwidth, low-latency technologies like 5G broadband, Purdue principal research analyst Howell Li said. Specialised software at the signal controller will tie the components together.

The project was tested on a stretch of highway in Tippecanoe County, Ind. During tests, the system was able to detect vehicles travelling 55 miles per hour, in a six-foot waypoint radius spaced 50 feet apart, with 95% accuracy. Using this data to estimate risk mitigation, researchers concluded dilemma zone incursions at that particular testing site could be reduced by 34%.

In the past, there were only conceptual-use cases involving onboard vehicle communication technology integrating with live traffic signal control. The new technology moves this integration beyond the merely conceptual. This work provides an implemented real-world use case that addresses an important safety concern, among other applications.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, when it comes to the quest for an equitable distribution of services in states and localities as well as diversity and inclusion in their workforces, the specifics of the challenge varies from place to place. But one common theme has emerged: To truly understand the problems that need to be solved, leaders must have the necessary data in hand.

The study of city, county and state data informs leaders not just how taxpayer money is spent, but also how it is raised and how it is invested in neighbourhoods. It also is needed to determine whether government employees, high-level officials, board members and vendors reflect the demographic composition of the entity and are equitably compensated.

One other promising tool was recently introduced through a partnership between the Government Alliance on Race and a software firm that specialises in geographic information system software, location intelligence and mapping. The new social equity analysis tool provides a geospatial mapping approach that can be used to visualise areas of focus, evaluate the community-level impact and guide government decision making. It will enable governments to use an intersectional lens to identify patterns of need and opportunities to enhance equity through an examination of geography, race, ethnicity, disability, gender and other areas of interest.

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