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WNYC News

On His Way Out, Bloomberg Renames City Streets

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Subhi Widdi Way, Ariel Russo Place and Hermena Rowe Street are among the newest streets re-baptized by the mayor on the eve of his departure.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

NYC Traffic Deaths in Context

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Robert Kolker, contributing editor for New York Magazine, discusses his new piece on why traffic deaths are up in NYC, and how the city is trying to make intersections safer.

What do you think is NYC's most dangerous intersection, and what can be done to fix it? Call 212-433-9692 or post below!

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Transportation Nation

Algorithm Predicts Red Light Runners

Monday, December 05, 2011

(Courtesy of MIT. Graphic by Christine Daniloff)

MIT has developed an algorithm to predict which vehicles will run a red light. That's useful for a future where cars talk to each other, or traffic signals respond dynamically to traffic.

There are more than 2.3 million accidents a year at U.S. intersections causing 7,000 deaths. About 700 of those fatalities are from red light running. MIT's algorithm aims to reduce that number by giving advanced warning to drivers -- or even just the car's computer braking system -- that another vehicle is approaching that is statistically likely to roll on through an intersection.

The MIT algorithm used sensors capturing vehicle speed, deceleration, and distance from intersection to predict with 85 percent accuracy which cars would run red lights and which wouldn't.

The U.S. Department of Transportation outfitted a Virginia intersection with censors that tracked the behavior of more than 15,000 vehicles, including when they ran a red light. This is part of a larger effort by the DOT to plan for a future where cars talk to each other in numerous ways that improve safety. As we've reported before, once cars can talk to each other, they will need to know what to say that actually improves safety. Early warning of a dangerous approaching vehicle would be near the top of the list.

The new MIT algorithm, with 85 percent accuracy, is an improvement of 15 - 20 percent over previous algorithms. As important as accuracy, the predictions proved early enough to be acted upon. Researchers found a “sweet spot” one to two seconds in advance of a potential collision where the algorithm was most accurate, and while a driver still had time to react if, say, a red danger light on the dashboard began flashing.

According to an MIT News Release, the researchers report their findings in a paper that will appear in the journal IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems.

Hat tip Gizmag.

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Transportation Nation

Pedestrian Countdown Clocks Placed At Dangerous NYC Intersections

Monday, April 11, 2011

New pedestrian countdown clock in Brooklyn.

(New York, NY -- Jim O'Grady, WNYC) Pedestrians have forty-three new countdown clocks at some of New York City 's most dangerous intersections to tell them how much time there is left to cross the street. When the LED crosswalk signals show a flashing red hand, they also start displaying the dwindling seconds left until vehicles regain the right of way and may zoom past again.

City officials held a press conference announcing the new lights at the intersection of Flatbush Avenue and Fulton Street in Brooklyn, where six streets cross.

"Individuals should not have to take their life into their hands when they cross Flatbush Avenue," said City Councilwoman Letitia James, who represents the area. "These countdown clocks will go a long way in improving safety and reducing pedestrian fatalities and cyclist fatalities in the city of New York."

The current crop of clocks is installed at dangerous intersections on major thoroughfares like Queens Boulevard, the Grand Concourse in the Bronx and Hylan Boulevard in Staten Island. Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said at the press conference that a 2010 department study showed "major corridors are two-thirds more deadly for pedestrians” than smaller roads.

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