Re: changing traffic lights by the force of your personality

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Fri Feb 08 2002 - 17:43:22 MST

Just a thought (to get back to extropian matters): suppose drivers could
affect lights through some technological means. Would there be any
system that would make the traffic throughput more efficient than the
current timer-based lights?

Suppose each car could "vote" for the light (similarly for the
pedestrians at crossings). At a crossing this would likely mean that the
biggest queue would get green first, and decrease until the votes of the
other queue weighed over. With a bit of inertia in the system this would
likely ensure a fair division. There is likely a bit of need for
weighing votes by the time the light has been red too, in order to ensue
that cars crossing a very busy street along a far less busy street ever
will get past. At night, when there are few cars at all, all lights
would turn green since there are just single votes.

However, traffic flow theory is filled with surprises and paradoxes, so
I wouldn't be surprised if there are conditions where this kind of
solution wouldn't be optimal. Any thoughts?

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

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