Researchers look to traffic lights to lower green gas emission

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) — Getting stuck in traffic can be a headache and can be worsened by hitting red light after red light, especially if you’re driving for a living and on a deadline.

“If the lights aren’t timed right so you sit in traffic for quite a while it’s actually kind of frustrating especially if you’re in a big rig, you know you’re not going to make it through like a regular car,” Mark Bish, a former tractor trailer truck driver from Wilbraham, said.

Now, MIT researchers say the longer cars sit at red lights, the more harmful pollutants are let out into the environment.

The study looked at how the timing of traffic light could reduce those emissions and its results have some drivers in western Mass. wanting to see it go into effect beyond its current urban setting test run.

Anything that’s going to improve emissions standards and improve the quality of the air would be a positive thing that each town should probably look at individually and take into consideration,” Jerry Ierardi, from Wilbraham, said.

The study says that by combining how many cars are in a given area with more comprehensive data on that area’s traffic patterns city’s could come up with better programs to time out traffic lights.

The authors of the study argue that would lower the amount of time lines of traffic are idling.
The researchers are now looking at bringing the idea to New York among other cities, to test the potential of what they call smarter signal control.

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