Riding on a Wave of Green Traffic Lights

Riding on a Wave of Green Traffic Lights

The more-than-silly fantasy a lot of us have of living out a life with no red traffic lights in existence could soon become a reality, thanks to an initiative by Ford and Jaguar Land Rover, simply known as the Green Light Optimal Speed Advisory. Vehicle hire specialists Northgate takes us through all which the project entails and explores whether or not this will really see an end for the red traffic light.

What’s it all about

The Green Light Optimal Speed Advisory will account for the construction of a roadside unit which is to be stationed alongside a set of traffic lights. Approaching connected vehicles will then get sent information about the timings of the corresponding traffic lights and once the information is received, the driver will be advised on the optimal speed at which they’ll need to travel to stand the best chance of only having to pass through green lights.

If however there is no way of avoiding a red light, drivers will have to settle for a message from the system which tells them how long they’ll have to wait until the traffic light turns green again.

Christian Ress, the supervisor of Driver Assist Technologies at Ford Research and Advanced Engineering, acknowledged: “There’s not much worse after a long day than to hit one red light after another on the drive home, and be forced to stop and start again at every junction.

“Enabling drivers to ‘ride the green wave’ also means a smoother, continuous journey that helps to improve the flow of traffic and provide significant reductions in carbon dioxide emissions and fuel consumption.”

Tony Harper, the head of research at Jaguar Land Rover, is also excited by the project. He said: “Our aim is to give drivers exactly the right information at the right time and collaborations with other manufacturers are essential to help us deliver this commitment to our customers.”

The red traffic lights dilemma

Comparison website Confused.com recently carried out some research which indicates that British motorists can expect to spend up to a fifth of the time they’re in their vehicle waiting for red lights to turn green again, if they drive daily. That’s equivalent to an average time of 48.66 hours per year, standing still! It’s no wonder then that the introduction of the Green Light Optimal Speed Advisory will be to the delight of many motorists.

Matt Lloyd, a spokesperson at Confused.com, commented: “Red lights are a frustration for many drivers on the road but they are a necessity to keep traffic moving in a timely and orderly fashion.

“On some days, it can seem like the lights are against you and it can feel like the wait is longer than normal.”

However, Mr Lloyd was keen to add: “Rushing through a red light can cause problems for drivers and pedestrians alike. And getting caught can cause you problems with your insurance.”

The Green Light Optimal Speed Advisory Setup

Ford will be trialling the technology as part of UK Autodrive in addition to collaborating with Jaguar Land Rover.

UK Autodrive is a three-year trial of self-driving vehicles as well as connected vehicle technologies and it’s made up of a consortium of business leaders in the technology and automotive industries, as well as a variety of academic institutions and local authorities.

The Green Light Optimal Speed Advisory will be trialled in Coventry and Milton Keynes, using both public roads and closed circuits over the next two years.

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