Another project being developed by a university is Scalable Urban Traffic Control (SURTRAC), part of Carnegie Mellon University’s Traffic21 research initiative.

Unlike SMART, SURTRAC focuses on controlling grid networks, not just corridors (large, busy roads). Each intersection’s traffic signal uses cameras to detect how many cars are crossing, and relays that information to its neighbors.

That way, the network builds a signal plan that efficiently moves everyone, rather than emphasizing one dominant flow of traffic.

The SURTRAC team is working toward commercialization, but the product isn’t cheap: Implementation costs between $50,000 and $75,000 per intersection, Smith estimates.

But considering how much congestion costs drivers and cities, and that SURTRAC can be installed piecemeal, it’s not that hard a sell.