How Traffic Congestion Impacts Road Safety

03 30 2020
April Spears

How Traffic Congestion Impacts Road Safety

Sitting in traffic isn’t anyone’s favorite way to spend time. Most of us just think of the irritation and the hit to our schedule when we think of traffic congestion. However, there are some hard costs associated with traffic problems, as well. 

Economic impact: It is estimated that sitting in traffic cost Americans $87 billion in 2019. That’s about $1,348 per driver per year. In the areas with the worst traffic congestion, it can also amount to up to 164 hours of time per driver per year spent sitting in traffic.

Environmental impact: Vehicles generate carbon monoxide, which is not only a pollutant, but is toxic to people, wildlife and the environment. It is estimated that traffic congestion contributes 27 percent of yearly greenhouse emissions. 

Safety: Research suggests that as traffic congestion increases, so do the frequency and volume of traffic accidents. 

With the number of cars on the roads increasing every year, governments are constantly working to find new ways to reduce traffic congestion and improve road safety. As automotive and smart technologies advance, there are many promising new innovations that can help improve motorist safety while reducing traffic congestion in the United States and around the world.

Reliable Traffic Data

Having access to accurate traffic data can help transportation planners, emergency crews and city workers to prevent congestion, delays, and potentially dangerous situations for drivers by communicating real-time information on current road conditions throughout an area. With a growing emphasis on having access to real-time, reliable data in cities everywhere, radar-based traffic signals are seeing a rise in popularity. Radar-based systems are perfect for gathering traffic data because they are easy-to-install and don’t require any disruption to traffic flow. Using the information provided through these types of improved technologies, traffic can be re-routed and better managed to avoid congestion and improve driver safety.

Integrated Traffic Management Systems

When managed through an integrated traffic management system, traffic flow can be monitored  and improved based on real-time indicators. Integrated traffic management systems create a combined system of traffic signals, traffic sensors, and other monitoring technology within a dedicated area. Systems can also be combined to improve traffic flow between adjoining cities, 

counties, etc. The results of an effective integrated traffic management system can include improved daily traffic flow, reduced accidents, streamlined operations, and faster detection of problem areas, in addition to saving motorists thousands of hours sitting in traffic and millions of gallons of fuel.

Smart Technology

From traffic signals controlled by artificial intelligence to self-driving cars, smart technology is undoubtedly going to change the way we think about traffic and travel. New breakthroughs in smart technology are happening every day. As smart technology becomes more ingrained in our daily lives, connected devices will be able to work together to keep us safe in a variety of ways, including through reduced traffic congestion, smarter vehicle safety features, accident-reducing traffic management systems, improved traffic signal intelligence, and more.

Traffic Signal Systems

Traffic Signal Systems

Traffic signal systems are a key factor in traffic management and motorist safety. Recent advances in technology have skyrocketed the potential of traffic signals. New features, like adaptive traffic signals that collect information from current traffic conditions and make adjustments to the signals in real-time to match the traffic needs, are allowing transportation officials to improve traffic flow and motorist safety on roads everywhere. 

Although traffic congestion could potentially be reduced by things like more workers choosing remote and flexible work options, and improved public transportation options, such as the hyperloop project, those improvements could very well be offset by advances in self-driving car technology, which could make more drivers choose to commute. Either way, reducing traffic congestion and making roads safer for motorists will remain a top priorities over the long-term.

ELTEC has been a world-class manufacturer and innovator in traffic control signs, traffic safety equipment and overall traffic control products for nearly 50 years. Our goal is to significantly reduce the number of fatalities on our roads each year by implementing warning systems, and we are constantly coming up with new ways to innovate our products to provide you with the best possible safety and warning systems for your community.  Contact ELTEC Traffic Products and Warning Systems today to learn how we can meet your traffic signal needs with state-of-the-art systems that are built to save lives.