MIT has envisioned a future in which traffic lights are no longer a necessity.
MIT’s Senseable City Lab has teamed up with the Swiss Institute of Technology and the Italian National Research Council to create the intersections of tomorrow. These are described as being slot-based intersections and aim to eliminate conventional traffic lights and at the same time diminish delays, queues, and pollution.
This will only be possible by making the switch to self-driving cars which will be able to communicate with one another and regulate their speed in order to arrive at the intersection at the right time, without having to wait in line. For this to happen, the cars will obviously have to be packed with sensors and will also need a solid Internet connection so the data will be synchronized between all the cars.
That might not be all as Thomas Van Woensel, professor of freight transport and logistics at Eindhoven University of Technology, believes there also needs to be a central system in charge of organizing the traffic flow in the same vein as an air traffic control.
While this technology does sound impressive and certainly has its advantages, it’s going to be difficult to implement. Why? Because the scenario presented in the video refers to an intersection of roads where there are only autonomous vehicles, but how are pedestrians supposed to cross the road? Perhaps one solution is to build a separate crosswalk for pedestrians and bicyclists.