Adaptive traffic signals deployed as a pilot project … have demonstrated they can reduce both harmful vehicle emissions and frustratingly long travel times in Pittsburgh’s busy East Liberty neighborhood.

The pilot project was sponsored by three Pittsburgh foundations and deployed in cooperation with the City of Pittsburgh and East Liberty Development Inc.

“The reductions of 40 percent in vehicle wait time, nearly 26 percent in travel time and 21 percent in projected vehicle emissions realized in this pilot are remarkable,” Jared L. Cohon, Carnegie Mellon University president, said at a news conference on Monday Sept. 24. “I’m proud of CMU’s team, which developed this first-in-the-world technology, and am equally proud of the partnership approach typical of Pittsburgh that made this pilot possible.”

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl cheered the pilot’s success as “a breakthrough in making our city’s traffic system work far more efficiently without having to resort to expensive widening roads, eliminating street parking, or re-routing. It makes the City more attractive to employers and residents alike.”

In the pilot deployment, they successfully demonstrated that traffic signals have the ability to react to quickly changing conditions, reducing traffic congestion and the resulting extra vehicle emissions. The next step will be to expand the pilot to demonstrate the technology on a bigger scale.

“This type of technological breakthrough is just what we hoped could happen when Traffic21 was created with a broad community partnership led by CMU,” said Pittsburgh business leader and philanthropist Henry Hillman. “We are now beginning to see how Pittsburgh can be positioned to be a leading city on an international scale in demonstrating how low-cost, easy-to-implement technological solutions can reduce traffic congestion, vehicle fuel consumption and emissions while also improving safety and air quality.”

CMU CS News: Adaptive Traffic Signals Reduce Pollution, Traffic Clogs