Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communications for Safer Intersections: Virtual Traffic Lights

Given the pace of urbanization in the whole world in the last decade, it is no secret that the traffic congestion in urban areas has steadily gotten worse and is bound to deteriorate further unless new cost-effective and scalable solutions can be found. In fact, in the most major cities of the U.S. (such as NYC, Los Angeles, Chicago, etc.) commute times of 1.5 hours or more (45 min each way) are not uncommon. The situation is even worse in Asia and Latin America. So, the congestion problem is already an acute global problem which will get worse since the road capacity needed for increased number of vehicles in cities is far from being sufficient. In the current economic climate, it seems unlikely that a road capacity increase commensurate with the increase in the number of vehicles will occur in the foreseeable future. Increasing the use of information technology (IT) in future vehicles can solve or mitigate many of the fundamental problems we face today in transportation such as energy efficiency, reduced carbon footprint for cars, greener environment, and several others. Note that the premise of the proposed work here lies in the technology known as vehicle-to-vehicle communications. Vehicles are assumed to be equipped with communications devices which allow them to communicate among themselves. A group of equipped vehicles thus form a vehicular ad hoc network which is a special application of wireless ad hoc networks with different constraints. Specifically, the focus of the proposed work is on making vehicles more intelligent for increasing safety at intersections, mitigating congestion, reducing the commute time of urban workers, increasing productivity of the USA (as well as other countries), increasing the energy efficiency of cars, reducing the carbon footprint of cars, and supporting a greener environment. In particular, the authors propose a new technology, which migrates infrastructure-based traffic lights to in-car traffic lights. Using the emerging vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications capability of modern cars through the DSRC standard at 5.9 GHz, it has been shown that this technology can make traffic control ubiquitous at every intersection in urban areas. Through V2V communications, the vehicles at different legs (or approaches) of an intersection can elect a leader, which can manage the traffic flow at that intersection, thus acting as a “Virtual Traffic Light”. The results of this investigation have shown that this technology can reduce the commute time of urban workers between 40-60% during rush hours which seems pretty significant in terms of reducing accidents at intersections, mitigating congestion, increasing productivity, reducing carbon footprint of cars, increasing the energy-efficiency of transportation, and supporting a greener environment.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Edition: Final Report
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 83p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01668813
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Created Date: Apr 13 2018 4:40PM