Artificial Intelligence may seem like a concept straight out of science fiction, but its practical applications often extend beyond the realms of entertainment. Consider Operation Green Light, an initiative spearheaded by Google that delves into the realm of AI for traffic control with a focus on its environmental impact, aiming to contribute positively to society.

Have you ever pondered the time lost waiting at traffic lights? While these signals ensure safe navigation in day-to-day life, the red lights can be a source of inconvenience. On average, individuals may spend anywhere from two weeks to half a year waiting at traffic lights throughout their lifetime. Not only does this test one’s patience, but it also results in vehicles emitting pollutants into the air during the waiting period.

This 2015 study revealed that intersections, where traffic lights are prominent, exhibit 29 times higher concentrations of particle numbers in the air—nanoparticles produced by burning fuel—compared to other road segments. Approximately 25% of a commuter’s exposure to pollutants during their drive is accumulated at stoplights, and nearly half of the emissions at intersections stem from stop-and-go traffic.

To address this issue, Google’s Green Light initiative employs AI to collect and analyze data from Google Maps, offering valuable insights to city engineers. This data allows for the optimization of traffic control infrastructure, enabling precise adjustments to various intersections. Remarkably, the initiative requires no additional technology, allowing city engineers to implement changes in as little as five minutes based on the provided recommendations.

Initially introduced in Seattle, Green Light has expanded its reach globally, assisting drivers at 70 busy intersections in cities such as Abu Dhabi, Bali, Bangalore, Budapest, Haifa, Hamburg, Hyderabad, Jakarta, Kolkata, Manchester, and Rio de Janeiro. Preliminary trials indicate a 10 percent decrease in emissions and a 30 percent reduction in the number of stops made.

Beyond traffic control, the success of AI in initiatives like Green Light highlights its potential for problem-solving in various domains. Small and medium-sized businesses, in particular, can benefit from AI’s automation capabilities, aiding in data analysis, trend identification, and addressing operational inefficiencies. To explore the possibilities for your business, contact us at (212) 796-6061 today.