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Are traffic lights making you late to places? A&M reseachers are trying to fix that.

Texas A&M researchers have found delays in 12-55% of people’s daily commute in urban areas are because of inefficient traffic lights.

BRYAN, Texas — If you get frustrated on the roads and have road rage, you are not alone. One factor of this anger as you sit behind the wheel may be due to long traffic lights. 

Texas A&M researchers have found that delays in 12-55% of people’s daily commute in urban areas are because of inefficient traffic lights.

Researchers with the university are developing a self-learning system for these intersections to reduce unnecessary waiting times. 

“this is a self-learning controller. It actually improves over time. It becomes an expert in managing the specific intersection it is in charge of. It continuously collects data because it becomes more and more of an intersection that it manages, but the demand some days... there might be a football match and now the demand changes, the intersection performs slightly differently. More cars are coming from one direction. Congestion is heavy,” said Texas A&M's Department of Computer Science and Engineering's Dr. Guni Sharon.

Dr. Sharon said most of these existing traffic lights are on an automated system. 

“Most intersections operate by just detecting vehicles arriving from some direction and as long as vehicles are arriving, it is just a solid green light to a given direction, --until some maximum amount of time and then it will switch," said Dr. Sharon.

By changing the way these controllers operate, your daily commute to school or work could be reduced. 

Creating a template for self-learning controllers, researchers said intersections can then act accordingly to their specific streets and the traffic patterns that exist there. 

"Each intersection is slightly different. Different layouts and different demands, traffic from different directions, during the day, sometimes there’s less traffic, and due to the intersection layout, traffic might clear out faster in one direction and slower in the other direction," said Dr. Sharon.

He added that this process in training these self -earning controllers will optimize safety and minimize emissions on the road. 

The research team said implementing its study into the real world will a long-term process because of the traditional ways the transportation agency is used to handling matters on the road.