The Smart Intersection
Chloe Chen
West Point Grey Academy
Floor Location : M 031 N

A lot of research has been done to try and increase the efficiency of our current traffic systems. However, even with all the improvements that have been made, the intersections still remain a huge bottleneck that inevitably breaks down the network. So what can be done to solve this problem?
My solution to this is twofold. First, by altering current traffic light cycle lengths and synchronizing them to the speeds of vehicles, the number of red lights that people are forced to encounter would be minimized and intersections would be able to reach maximum efficiency. Then, by utilizing local streets, the need for left-turn lights would be eliminated, reducing the bottlenecks on main roads. I believe that combined, these two ideas would be able to optimize the efficiency and capacity of our current roads without having to build any additional infrastructure or incorporate any expensive technology.
To test the effects of my proposal, I programmed two simulation softwares: one to simulate the current traffic in my neighbourhood (West Vancouver), and the other to model what the traffic would look like after my changes were implemented. Then using these simulations, I was able to calculate how much this system would improve the driving experience of an average driver.
Through my calculations, I found that this proposal would greatly impact both our society and our environment by decreasing CO2 emissions, increasing the capacity of roads, saving drivers' time, and even decreasing the number of traffic accidents. Most importantly, this idea is easy to carry out, and costs practically nothing. For example, this system can be quickly implemented in today's manual driving vehicles simply via smartphone APPs. However, this system will be equally applicable and important in the future of automated driving vehicles (ex. Google Driverless Cars), for even if/when they become the norm, this system will remain necessary to eliminate bottlenecks at intersections.