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EU Urban Mobility Observatory
News article17 October 20181 min read

Traffic lights ‘talk’ with cars in North Holland pilot

The region of North Holland has run the first pilot project of autonomous vehicles on public roads in the Netherlands.

The cars were connected with each other and with intelligent traffic lights. The intelligent traffic lights were able to monitor the traffic, anticipate traffic levels and to communicate with oncoming vehicles. They were also able to inform the cars of the time remaining before the lights turned green or red and to stay green longer if this helped to improve the flow.

The cars also sent messages back to the traffic lights and to each other. The cars were constantly communicating with each other, in order to maintain a safe distance between each other and also to enable them to react when the car in front sped up or slowed down. Such a system is known as cooperative adaptive cruise control.   

Intelligent traffic lights that can monitor and react to oncoming vehicles have the potential to reduce congestion and to enable more efficient use of road space. Connected cruise control systems can help to improve traffic flows. This system could, for example, allow more cars to pass through the junction by keeping the light green for longer. 

The tests were undertaken between 3 and 7 September 2018 on the N205. The pilot was part of a study into traffic flows and road safety. A full report of the study is expected later in 2018.



Publication date
17 October 2018
  • Traffic and demand management
  • Netherlands