Adaptive Traffic Control


Problem: Conventional traffic control systems have timed signals and are unable to make adjustments based on real-time traffic conditions. This leads to predictable traffic backups and congestion during peak commuting hours, as well as increased vehicle emissions from stalled vehicles.

Solution: Adaptive traffic controls that will adjust signal timing based on real time data on traffic conditions to help vehicles move more efficiently in high-traffic corridors.

  • Seattle’s Department of Transportation adopted a smart adaptive traffic control system for a high-traffic corridor in the growing South Lake Union neighborhood.
  • Sensors detect vehicles in every lane of every intersection along the route to determine traffic conditions.
  • Algorithms process the data to predict traffic flows and adjusts the amount of time available to each movement through intersections to inform signal timing.
  • The system is able to predict and adapt to congestion that from rush hour, sports events, concerts, and other special events.


  • transportation departments
  • surface transit (bus, streetcar)
  • commuters

First 3 Steps:

  • measure improvements in traffic flow from adaptive traffic controls
  • identify additional high-traffic corridors for next phase
  • implement adaptive control systems in all high traffic corridors


Comment on “Ocean Cleanup”

The anchor and ballast concept is key in slowing down the system to capture the floating plastic that moves faster. In addition, the natural forces on the water helps position the system where the highest concentration of trash is to make it even more efficient.


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