It happens every minute, somewhere, somehow. An accident occurs on the freeway. Traffic backs up for long distances. Ambulances and police cars thread slowly through lines of stopped cars. Cars wait and drivers’ frustrations grow. But what if there were cameras on the street lights poles along the freeway, or drones hovering overhead, that could spot accidents the moment they happen and relay that information immediately to emergency services and traffic control centers?
Emergency vehicles would be dispatched immediately. Meanwhile, freeway signs would signal lane closings and alternate routes on other streets, where traffic lights would be retimed to handle the greater traffic flow.
Radar sensors would detect lanes with blocked traffic, and cars communicating with the traffic infrastructure would be rerouted automatically in order to keep everyone moving. Police and medical assistance would arrive quickly at the scene of the accident to clear the road and treat victims, saving precious time that would be lost if response times were slower.
This scenario illustrates only one feature of the smart city, a metropolitan area that relies on a seamless web of electronic technology to make it safe, clean and efficient.