A world without red lights is possible


test Vehicle Ford within the program UK Drive (Uk), where the cars receive information from fixed points and other vehicles

traffic problems are as old as the invention of the wheel and the carriages. Today we continue to need the automatic adjustment provided by the traffic lights. It solved a problem, regulating the priority of passage in a way that is more balanced, but it created another: increases pollution locally for two reasons.

In the first place, we have that vehicle without Stop&Start have the engine running for the duration of the red light, the time in which it is polluting. The engines remain so to have successfully powered the electrical system, air-conditioning etc, With the progressive arrival of the S&S not only reduces the pollution, also the noise of the engine running.

however the S&S does not work permanently, there are times that it can’t work (low battery, low temperature…) and this very much depends on the model. But let’s assume that they work 100%, there continues to be a source of contamination: the detention and the boot doesn’t come for free. The brakes cause emission of particles and dust, accelerating from standstill is one of the biggest efforts for the engine, hybrid and electric apart.


In some cities, there is the information of the network semafórica and can be channeled to the car via a dedicated application. In the image, the app EnLighten working in a BMW in Portland (united states)

most efficient in a regulation semafórica is that the vehicles don’t have to stop, but for this reason it is necessary that the traffic traveling at a speed within a range to coincide with the green light. That way you avoid braking and subsequent acceleration. Except that the driver will know from memory the frequency of all the traffic lights in their day-to-day, this is a little complicated.

In some cities we find traffic lights smart, which indicate with a countdown the time that is left to open the passage, or close it. As well, drivers can stop accelerating with time, or quietly against a red disk because when you reach the traffic light, this will already be open.

But this entire process can be simplified further with a technology called car-to-infrastructure (C2X), that is to say, communication between fixed elements and the vehicles themselves. Manufacturers such as Audi, Ford, or Toyota have done pilot testing in cities with very concrete, in which the traffic lights have moved information to the vehicles. And what does this what does it do?


The system of warning lights Audi is already operating in models with Virtual Cockpit in some cities of the united States, after several years of testing

If the vehicle knows how much time is left for the traffic lights to change, it can inform the driver of the approach speed, which will be usually between 25 and 50 km/h, which provides for the regulation of the circulatory system in the case of our country. For example, the driver will be advised that between 25 and 30 km/h will pass the next traffic light in green. If you are going faster, you will meet with a red disk, and may with a fine gift.

urban consumption can reduce 15%

Who has been able to pass through the hitch several green lights have already been able to verify this. At a sustained speed, at low revs, the consumption is ridiculous below 50 km/h. What is a waste is to be braking and accelerating, especially if done by violent means. Let us remember the fable of the tortoise and the hare: arrived first, which has a higher average speed, and comes before, not the one that has raced but has been arrested several times.

When there is a standardized system of communication between traffic lights and vehicles, valid internationally, you will experience a relief from the pollution and noise, while lowering the average speed of traffic for the benefit of all. In addition, these systems have other possibilities, very interesting for the future.


Every traffic light that prevents saving emissions and fuel. The system Stop&Start doesn’t save much, but it is a good intermediate step

Currently, there are traffic lights have a camera that makes chivata, if you cross on red, even if it is only for a second, photo and fine singing. In Spain it is a serious penalty, of € 200 and four points less. There are drivers who really have not wanted to skip the traffic lights, but the amber has been short, or have not seen, or were going too fast to stop safely.

on-board systems can help the driver to not to skip the traffic light, limiting the acceleration or braking of the vehicle. Is more, autonomous cars will take advantage of the information C2X for driving at the optimum speed to not collide with traffic lights. Where there is no such possibility, is driven by the colors, as do human drivers. The prototypes that are being tested are already using that method.

you can Also generate alerts for the driver to be aware that there is a traffic light in the vicinity, for example in areas where there are hardly any (it would not be very useful on a large avenue). In the cities of the future we will see a few vehicles waiting at red, and with the engine running. Little by little, that will be a picture of the past, such as carts to horse by sharing space with cars with mechanical horses.