'Smart' Signals Could Make Commute Faster & Safer

Survey Calls U.S. Traffic Signals Inefficient

The concept of 'smart cities' based on the 'Internet of Things' idea, could soon make it a lot easier, safer, and more efficient to drive down the highway, experts told a conference sponsored by San Antonio's innovative EPIcenter for energy research, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

Bill Pugh with 'Smart Connections Consulting' told the group of tech and CPS Energy officials at the Pearl Stable that an effort is underway to adopt smart traffic signals, which will be able to actually 'connect' with oncoming cars.

"The intersection will communicate with itself and say 'there's nobody there, turn green'," he said.  "That means your wait time will be improved."

He says this will solve a problem that has vexed drivers for decades--why you have to wait at a red light when there are no oncoming vehicles to be seen.  Pugh says it will also drastically improve the efficiency of the streets, which means less need for new street construction.

He says something else that 'smart' traffic signals could do is to 'see' an accident' that is about to happen' and stop it.

"Holding that yellow light, so the car can get through so you don't end up with a horrible accident," he said.

Pugh says the 'car to intersection' and 'intersection to intersection' technology to make these safety and efficiency steps a reality is currently in place and he says we could be seeing 'smart traffic signals' on our roadways within two years.

EPIcenter is an innovative research and development incubator which is focused on the development of the new energy of the future.  It is currently rebuilding the historic Mission Road Power Station on the city's near south side as a center to bring together investors, engineers, researchers and students to come up with energy ideas for the 21st Century.

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