Traffic signals not as smart as we think

Future-Proof: Navigate Threats, Seize Opportunities at ICNY 2018 | Jan 22-26 at the Marriott Marquis, Times Square, New York

In this amazing age, when everything from cars to coffeemakers has brains that make them smart, why are traffic signals still so damn stupid? Every day, we resignedly herky-jerk our way through a gauntlet of ill-timed or just plain unnecessary traffic lights. They're so ubiquitous in the built world that you may not even think about them anymore–yet they're an integral part of your daily urban and suburban experience. You probably spend more time idling at traffic lights than you do eating your breakfast. No one would quibble with the need for traffic signals at complex, busy intersections. But there are also plenty of signals installed in places that don't need them–an inane, wasteful, yet widespread practice. What's more, many of the intersections that do need signals don't just have a light for each direction, but a whole phalanx of redundant ones over every single lane. No doubt this kind of overkill is every signal salesman's dream. But are we motorists really so stup...