I-24 Transportation Experiment Uses Technology to Solve Traffic Congestion

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (WSMV) – This week, researchers put traffic jams on Interstate 24 under the microscope in what they’re calling the world’s largest traffic experiment.

Vanderbilt University, the University of California, Berkeley, the Tennessee Department of Transportation and Nissan are conducting the research, called the CIRCLES project, which ends Friday.

Researchers deployed 100 Nissan Rogues along the $11 million I-24, equipped with high-definition cameras and nearly 300 sensors that anonymously relay traffic information and driving patterns.

AI in the cloud then speeds up or slows down Nissan’s cruise control system. A car equipped with adaptive cruise control can improve the flow of traffic for 100 cars around it, according to project leaders.

“I think it’s going to help people anywhere in the country, wherever there’s congestion we can apply this technology,” said Liam Pedersen of the Nissan Alliance Innovation Lab.

The experiment, aimed at reducing traffic congestion and improving fuel savings, was primarily funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation.

In one week, 150 drivers drove 100 Nissan Rogues for 2,500 hours.

“I mean we can’t build more highways, the congestion is painful,” Pedersen said. “With this innovation, I think we can make it a little bit better and we can also reduce people’s gas bills.”

Project leaders say the CIRCLES project will provide new insight into how the 100 test vehicles affect traffic and how to optimize vehicle design and interstate infrastructure to reduce driving times and enable more fuel-efficient commutes.

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