Cutting-edge technology slashes wait times at red lights in Oakland County

A first-of-its-kind pilot study based in Birmingham aims to reduce red light wait times in a big way.

How long a light stays red or green is based on traffic patterns, and that preset is usually updated every five to 10 years.

After an 18-month study and collecting data from 34 Birmingham intersections, the University of Michigan researchers discovered a way to update traffic signals more often while costing less.

The Road Commission for Oakland County partnered with researchers from U of M to see how they could improve traffic signal timing by using GPS data in General Motors vehicles. GM vehicles represent about 6% of vehicles on the road.

Researchers reprogrammed traffic lights, leading to a 20% to 30% decrease in the number of stops.

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