University of Huddersfield developing city-scale traffic flow management system that ‘thinks for itself’

The University of Huddersfield is investigating a ‘gridlock-busting’ system that uses Artificial Intelligence to keep traffic flowing in large cities.

According to the university, there are some intelligent systems already on the market that monitor flow and respond by automatically controlling traffic signals, but they can only cover a restricted area.

A research group at Huddersfield named Park (planning, autonomy and representation of knowledge) is developing a system that can control huge areas of a city’s transport network, populated by upwards of 10,000 vehicles.

Cameras and sensors feed data to a computer which makes its own ‘decisions’, such as the duration of green light phases at traffic lights.

A simulation has been tested for Greater Manchester, and the next phase is to develop the system using real-life data supplied by that city’s transport authority.

The university said the goal of autonomic transport systems is to reduce reliance on decision-making by human controllers, with improved traffic flows leading to a wide range of environmental and economic benefits.