Netherlands' clever traffic lights cut waiting times

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Clever traffic lights in 's-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands, have helped to reduce congestion by analysing traffic flow and adapting to keep cars on the move.

Detection loops in the road measure the speed and direction of road users, including cyclists on cycle routes, and complex algorithms figure out the best light cycle to keep traffic flowing.

Some of the lights even have rain sensors, which are used to give cyclists more green lights when it is raining.

Aside from helping cyclists stay safe, the lights are intended to reduce congestion for cars. The idea is to ensure that roads with more traffic get a green light for longer, and empty roads get a red light to keep traffic moving elsewhere.

The system can even read the speed of approaching vehicles and extend the light cycle to get an extra car through when possible.

Eric Greweldinger, traffic regulation expert, said: "If we have detected them well, and when we also determined their speed well, it is possible to give [extra time to] other road users."