Self-organizing Traffic Lights at MIT's Climate CoLab

The MIT Center for Collective Intelligence has developed a collaborative platform, the Climate CoLab, where thousands of people seek collectively solutions for problems related to climate change. The CoLab is running 18 contests for different categories. We are finalists in the Transportation Efficiency contest with the project "Self-organizing traffic lights". Being this a collective platform, people have to vote on the projects they prefer. Teams with the most votes for each contest will be invited to present at the Crowds and Climate Conference at MIT in November. Key implementers will be there.

If you would like traffic lights to work better, please share and vote for our proposal, "Self-organizing traffic lights" (quick registration required).


The optimal coordination of traffic lights is an extremely complex problem. Moreover, traffic situations change constantly, demanding everchanging solutions. Most traffic lights are fixed. And from the few ones that adapt, they do so very slowly. A recently proposed method allows for the distributed adaptation of traffic lights as fast as the traffic demands change, i.e. at the seconds scale.
In several computer simulations, this method has proven to reduce waiting times by 50%, leading to considerable emission reductions. For example, it is estimated that with one thousand intersections in Mexico City, one million CO2 tons would be saved every year, at a cost of only $25 million.
We have the technology to implement this solution, it is time to do it!
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