Traffic is a major concern for commuters in most major cities, including Pittsburgh where drivers sit in their vehicles for 81 unnecessary hours each year. A hilly, gridless area with more bridges than any other US city, Pittsburgh can be a pain to navigate.
The Steel City’s traffic challenges, which have attracted companies like Uber for the testing of autonomous vehicles, led to the development of Surtrac. Surtrac is an intelligent traffic signal control system developed by Rapid Flow Technologies that adapts to real-time traffic conditions instead of simply sticking to, or only slightly adjusting, pre-programmed timing cycles.
Surtrac’s edge-computing AI detects traffic and creates predictive models that communicate with other equipped intersections, further improving the technology’s effectiveness. Intersections where Surtrac is installed have facilitated 25% reduced travel time, 40% less idling, 30% less braking, and 20% less pollution and safety incidents.
Born from a project at Carnegie Mellon University, Surtrac was piloted at 12 high-volume intersections back in 2012. With its success, the expansion grew to encompass 50 intersections by 2016, and now Pittsburgh has plans to deploy adaptive traffic control at another 150 intersections.
Read more in the article by Smart Cities Dive.
Article Update (December 2018):
Since the article on Smart Cities Dive was published, Surtrac has been deployed in Atlanta, GA; Portland, ME; Needham, MA; and Quincy, MA with several others cities on the way. With these implementations, the technology has been able to successfully deal with differing traffic patterns and grids. Also, the AI traffic signal control system has made huge strides in its ability to optimize for all modes of travel, including pedestrians and Connected & Autonomous Vehicles (CAV).