Editorial: Traffic tech might save us, and the planet

If you could disconnect addiction to fossil fuels and perhaps save the planet, you’d likely support that. But how do you achieve that without sending us back to the caves?

Now comes Adaptive Traffic Control System, a computer system that monitors traffic second by second and matches traffic signals to reality. The concept has been around for 30 years, but technology has been getting cheaper every year, and now Lake County has used $1.6 million in mostly federal money to test it here.

If this technology were human, you’d say it was adaptive and intuitive. It has new thoughts every second.

Intersections on Aptakisic Road in Buffalo Grove as well as Gilmer Road between Hawthorn Woods and Mundelein will get the traffic technology.

“Traffic” is shorthand for the misery of not getting where you want to go. It’s also an expensive waste of time.

Federal statistics show that Americans spend almost 4.2 billion hours in traffic backups annually. That’s 800 wasted hours per person.

The National Transportation Operations Council, an alliance of groups seeking to improve the country’s transportation infrastructure, says changing the delay of lights by a few seconds could reduce road congestion by 10 percent. It would reduce air pollution from vehicles by as much as 20 percent, cut accidents at intersections and save about five tanks of gasoline per household each year.

Plus, millions of tons of emissions are pumped into the air – 30 percent of the nation’s carbon dioxide footprint – while we wait for the light to change. The “cure” for planet-killing pollution might not be one giant answer. It might be a thousand smaller answers just like this.

The health burdens of unchecked emissions could cost the nation $100 billion a year by 2030.

Most estimates suggest three of every four traffic signals need their intervals changed, but there are far more traffic signals than there are traffic engineers.

So the technology coming to Lake County roads soon won’t only make the trip easier, it might ultimately save your life.

Tags:

0 Comments

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
  • Advertisement
  • Advertisement
  • Advertisement
  • Advertisement
  • Advertisement
  • Advertisement

Modal