Sensor-Based Intelligent Traffic Light Control System: A Panacea to Traffic Congestion in Nigerian Motorways

Ikporo Stephen C, Ume Leonard E


Traffic congestion is one of the major problems in our nation motorways. As a result, many man-hours are being lost on daily bases. Traffic congestion occurs when a volume of traffic or modal split generates demand for space greater than the available road capacity. There are a number of specific circumstances which cause or aggravate congestion; most of them reduce the capacity of a road at a given point or over a certain length, or increase the number of vehicles required for a given volume of people or goods. It is the impedance vehicles impose on each other, due to the speed-flow relationship, in conditions where the use of a transport system approaches capacity. It has been causing many critical problems and challenges in the major and most populated cities. Due to these congestion problems, people lose time, miss opportunities, and get frustrated. There is also loss in productivity from workers, trade opportunities are lost, and delivery gets delayed. Health hazards are on the increase due to emission of carbon dioxide from the exhausts of idling vehicles on the roads. Accident risks are also escalating as traffic density increases. Traffic congestion is essentially a relative phenomenon that is linked to the difference between the roadway system performance that users expect and how the system actually performs. The congestion control system available has not yielded the needed result as they are pre-timed in which case, each lane will be allocated a pre-signed time even when there is no vehicle on queue. Hence, the need for a knowledge-based system which can use pressure sensors/switches that can know and keep track of vehicular movement on each lane so as to be able to influence appropriately the timing allocated to each of the traffic lights pointing at the roads. This removes the normal allocation of same timing to the lane that has less or no vehicle at all and allocates it to that with higher vehicular density. This paper is aimed at showing how a Sensor-based Intelligent Traffic Light Control System can be employed to significantly enhance traffic congestion management and to effectively manage traffic jam and incidents, reduce pollution and improved public transport services and by implication reduce accidents on our road junctions and the health hazards associated with it.

Keywords: Sensor, Congestion, Traffic Signal, Stop Light, Traffic Lamp, Semaphore


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