Hate Waiting at Traffic Lights? Ford’s Working On Getting Rid of Them

The days of waiting for the light to turn green or stepping on the pedal to beat the red light could come to an end. Ford announced that it will be trialling its Intersection Priority System—which at its core is vehicle-to-everything (V2X) tech—on the roads of Milton Keynes, UK.

The system doesn’t require cars to stop when it comes to a junction, but if they are V2X-enabled and can “speak” to one another, they can calculate an optimal speed and also decide which vehicle should pass first, so that the vehicles never meet (ie. collide) even if their paths did intersect.

According to Ford, drivers spend up to two years of their life waiting at traffic lights and 60% of accidents occur at junctions. If traffic lights could be eliminated, you would not only save time and be at lower risk of meeting with an accident, you would also use less fuel—because you don’t have to stop and idle—save money and also reduce your impact on the environment. The case against traffic lights is sounding more and more convincing.

As with many great ideas that were inspired by nature, Ford’s traffic-light-less road system is modelled on the movement of one of nature’s most interesting creatures—humans. Humans walking in crowds, to be precise. When we move about in a crowded space, we don’t have to take turns to walk—we can weave in and out of the crowd, whilst adjust our speed and ‘route’, without needing to stop (most of the time), and managing to avoid banging into anyone (most of the time).

After about a century of serving a vital function in keeping order on roads the world over, it appears that the traffic light’s days are numbered.

Read also: As Steering Wheels and Pedals Are Disappearing, One Famous Automaker Will (Always) Keep Them.


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