There's a radical new idea to solve traffic congestion in Melbourne, Australia, that may help drivers avoid a few red lights on their daily commute.
Vehicle and mobility services provider Intelematics has devised a plan that will see motorists soaring through green traffic lights rather than waiting impatiently while they are red.
Intelematics is designing an app with VicRoads, which will alert drivers to what speed they should be travelling to get green lights.
Intelematics strategic relationship general manager Brian Smith told news.com.au traffic lights were an evil essential.
“Red lights are a bit problem (for congestion) but if you remove them things would be much worse. Without them there’s chaos and congestion is much worse,” he said.
But according to Mr Smith, smoother flowing traffic is the key to making driving in the city a little more bearable.
The plan is hoped to prevent congestion but Mr Smith said if there was already heavy traffic, the app wouldn’t have much of an impact.
“In peak hour you’re having to stop at traffic lights and wait two cycles for it to turn green,” he said.
“This idea is not going to have much impact if so much traffic is going bumper-to-bumper, but as traffic lights lighten up, people will have a much smoother journey.”
Mr Smith said the app had a number of benefits and would lower carbon dioxide emissions and fuel consumption because cars weren’t stopping and starting.
Mr Smith said with strict rules on using mobile phones while driving, the app would have to be developed in a way that didn’t encourage drivers to use phones on the road.
“You can provide audio messages but to manage this we are working with the road authority and will ensure any app we develop will meet the requirements,” he said.
Associate Professor Allison Kealy, from the Melbourne University school of engineering, said ideas to alleviate traffic congestion were beneficial, but wondered whether this particular idea would work.
Professor Kealy said if it worked in the way it was designed to, it would fix some of the traffic woes, but that meant every driver would have to go at the speed the app suggested.
“If some people drive 30km/h to get green waves while others just drive as fast as they can to get to the traffic lights, that in itself can cause a build up of traffic and cause more dangerous conditions,” she said.
“You need everyone on the road to buy into the application.”
Professor Kealy said there were a number of factors that also came into play that could see the app fail.
“What if somebody merges from the side of the road into traffic? That might force traffic to slow down to accommodate the vehicle and slowing down changes how the model works,” she said.
It’s not just traffic lights that cause congestion, according to Professor Kealy, and she said it was an idea that would be best integrated with other congestion solutions.
Mr Smith said the technology would be trialed in about a year and the idea was still being developed.