October 10, 2006

Traffic Light Remotes

Traffic light remotes already exist of course, for decades. The purpose of these little gizmos is to ensure that emergency vehicles get green lights speeding them to their urgent destinations. Early systems were rather primitive with zero measures taken to ensure that nobody else was using the system or that the system was not being abused by legitimate users for illegitimate purposes.

Enter the information age. What if the system was made more sophisticated? What if you were able to have a two tiered priority system. Emergency vehicles would override all, of course. Fires wait for no man and heart attacks are just as merciless. But what if you made a secondary access that allowed you to bid who got a longer light, within limits? Every light could become a billable opportunity, a little auction for the municipality. The infrastructure for payments could be piggy backed on to the highway tolling systems like E-ZPass or I-Pass with a super transponder/transmitter that would empower you to speed you on your way at the cost of a few pennies per stubborn traffic light.

The establishment of a two tier system would create a serious incentive protecting the emergency vehicle codes because you could get what you really want (faster travel) legally while the money involved would increase the penalties for violating the system. I would imagine that taking a picture of all vehicles using the emergency vehicle codes would be an effective way to avoid that sort of cheating.

Working poor people would often be outbid on these auctions and would sometimes travel slower as a result. They would benefit, though, from the revenue coming into the city. Unlike red-light cameras, traffic light auctions would be progressive in nature while the benefits would randomly accrue to the ordinary joe who is driving next to the Lexus.

Posted by TMLutas at October 10, 2006 03:06 PM