Role of IoT in solving traffic problems of smart cities

Urbanization is rapidly growing worldwide. According to an estimate by UNDP, around 60% of the world population will start living in urban regions by 2030. As the population gets denser, there will be a higher need for maintaining quality of life. More automobiles are being produced every day, and there are more vehicles on the road. Due to this traffic jams and other such problems are on the rise. Advancements in technology are being used for making smart and efficient cities. One such technology is Smart Traffic Management. It captures, stores, and processes vast amounts of data.

Smart Cities turn to AI and Sensors

IoT is a growing trend, and it is being incorporated in more solutions. Just like individuals are switching to assistants like Siri and Alexa for news and weather information, cities are switching to connected devices for gathering data and obtain insights. This allows them to make more informed decisions. With the development of durable and economical sensors, it is becoming easier to monitor and manage traffic by using real-time.

Advancements in machine learning are allowing city workers to have better insight about urban-related problems. Metadata generated from various devices and sensors allow city workers to make well-informed and immediate decisions. Development of cloud platforms have made it economical to store the vast amount of data, and more information is available for analysis.

How Smart Traffic Management Works?

We first need to understand that traffic problems arise from a number of different factors, including the lack of parking spaces, congested roads, ineffective traffic signals, and insufficient traffic police personnel.

AI and machine learning can be used to train traffic signals in such a way that they better respond to the incoming traffic and come up with optimal solutions. Conventional traffic signals have a pre-programmed timer, and signals are changed according to this timer. This is highly ineffective because it doesn’t factor in the amount of incoming traffic from different sides of the intersections. For instance, one side of the intersection has too much traffic, and the other has negligible traffic. The traffic signal will switch signs after the same time period for both sides of the intersections. This will lead to frustration and is not efficient at all.

A smart traffic signal will automatically determine when to switch to red or green lights. Hence, when there is more traffic, the green light will stay on for longer and vice versa. This will allow for better traffic management.

Traffic Management for Emergency and Weather Conditions

A smart traffic signal will also be able to respond to emergency and weather conditions. For example, if there is an accident on the road, then the traffic signal will stop the incoming traffic by turning on the red light. Hence, medical assistance will be easily provided. Similarly, if there is rain or a storm and driving conditions on a certain road are unfavorable, then the traffic signal will permanently switch to red for preventing the incoming traffic. This will prevent accidents from happening, and there will be lower casualties.