Connected Signals, the Eugene, Oregon-based provider of predictive real-time traffic signal information, announced that it had been issued a patent by the US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) covering a way to visually communicate speed recommendations that help drivers get through a series of traffic signals without stopping. Connected Signals’ proprietary technologies are based on statistics, machine learning, and AI, all of which let the company build and capitalize on sophisticated models that predict upcoming traffic signal changes based on history, vehicle and pedestrian calls, and other data. This patent is one of several issued to the company by the USPTO.
The awarded patent is titled “Traffic Routing Display System with Multiple Signal Lookahead.” The abstract released by the USPTO describes it as “a traffic routing display system provides a visual display of speed or series of speeds suggested to the driver such that the driver may pass through multiple consecutive traffic signal devices without stopping at a red light. In one aspect, the display depicts the expected state of an upcoming traffic light. In another aspect, the display is an icon colored to correspond to the expected state. In another aspect, the time remaining before the state of a traffic light changes is displayed. The effect that an indicator has on driver behavior is used to determine the type of indicator to provide to the driver. Certain indicators may not be displayed by the system depending on the effect they have on the driver.”
The purpose of the awarded patented technology is to assist with safety, to reduce carbon footprint and fuel consumption, as well as to improve traffic flow. The colored icons and displays listed in the abstract are called “needles” and “arcs” when used Connected Signals’ EnLighten® app. EnLighten’s speedometer arcs give drivers a legal range of speeds that will let them make the next light, and if the driver keeps the needle in the outer green arc, also make the next light and probably stay in the “green wave” through a series of lights.
A recent study conducted by Argonne National Laboratory reported that the Enlighten app’s green arcs moderate drivers’ acceleration and/or deceleration while approaching traffic lights. Another preliminary study conducted by Connected Signals in several US cities — including San Jose, CA; Las Vegas; Phoenix, AZ; and Portland, OR — shows that drivers are less likely to speed through intersections when they can see the arcs. Additionally, it has been demonstrated that when drivers stay in the “green wave,” they experience fewer stops and starts, which reduces carbon and fuel consumption and improves traffic flow.