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Ground Traffic Control Computers

Like Air Traffic Control Towers, for the ground.
  [vote for,

Well ok, not exactly like ATC, but similar. This idea is for a dash-mounted signal receiver/transponder that communicates with a Traffic Control Computer in nearby traffic lights. I know it sounds like a let's-all, but for the purposes of law enforcement, this would have to be a mandatory feature on all vehicles. When the traffic light turns yellow, it analyzes all approaching vehicles within a preset distance (probably about a quarter-mile, maybe a little longer) and calculates, based on the speed at which they are approaching, which vehicles will make it through the intersection before the light turns red, and which will not.

Vehicles which will make it are given an audible go-ahead to maintain their current speed and proceed through the light. The audible go-ahead is accompanied by a lit green LED in their instrument cluster. Vehicles which will not make it at their current speed are given an audible warning that they will not make it, accompanied by a flashing red LED in the instrument cluster. If the driver then does not stop and runs the light, or accelerates to make it, the signal receiver transmits their VIN to the Traffic Control Computer, which forwards it to the local Police Department, who then issues a mail-in ticket to the vehicle's registered address.

I truly think that this arrangement will result in decreased traffic congestion in large cities, and will ensure that red-light runners get their due even if their license plate is somehow obscured. Here in Spokane, we get a lot of red-light runners who get away with it in the winter because snow build-up on their back bumpers hides their license plates, and the traffic cams, which are very expensive to operate and are supposed to be paid for by the fines they generate instead of tax dollars, are rendered useless, yet they still continue to operate on the tax-payers' dime.

My arrangement is intended to ensure that traffic light enforcement is paid for by offenders, as well as easing traffic congestion by safely decreasing the number of vehicles stopped at each light, and reducing the number of intersection collisions. Tax-payer costs would be further reduced in the form of fewer court appearances. Fewer mistakes would be made, thus almost every court appearance would be guaranteed to be paid for by the offender, instead of currently relying on cameras that can make mistakes by getting only partial plate numbers or the officers who review the footage and authorize the tickets simply mis-reading the plate numbers. Society would become more harmonious in general due to a coresponding population-wide decrease in stress, which would not only make life more pleasant but would add minutes to it, as well.

Of course, red light fines would be slightly more expensive due to the fact that there is no longer any excuse for running them. You cannot say you thought the yellow would last longer if the control computer told you that you wouldn't make it.

I'm sure many other uses would be found for these Control Computers, too. It's about time to start coordinating traffic, and I am certain that today's technology makes it not only possible, but plausible. Therefore, I humbly submit this idea for review by my fellow Halfbakers. Please, tell me what you think.

21 Quest, Apr 03 2009


       hmmm, feels a bit nanny state-ish. I like the idea of the vehicle preempting the CD player with updates though.
"An ambulance will need your lane in fourty seven seconds"
"Accident on 12th and Main, use route..."

       That would be an excellent use for it. Another benefit would be more accurate traffic pattern analysis so civil engineers could be a little more productive.
21 Quest, Apr 04 2009


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