New traffic light technology helps ease congestion

Technology brings Houston-area suburb one step closer to driverless cars

HOUSTON – Whether you live in Katy, the Woodlands, Friendswood or Baytown, the morning commute can be painfully long as you sit in traffic waiting for lights to turn green.

What if you got a heads up, hundreds of feet from the intersection, letting you know when the red light will change? It's already possible for people living in one Houston-area suburb, and it's bringing people in that community one step closer to driverless cars.

There's a big push for people to get off the grid, cut the cord and let go of landlines, but when it comes to driving and traffic, it's the exact opposite.

Cities are now partnering with car companies to get hooked into the infrastructure, and the so-called "smart cities" are really starting to take off in Texas.

The idea: Connect your car and get traffic moving.

In places like Frisco, north of Dallas, traffic engineers can already remotely control signal lights. That information is then fed to cars.

"What the driver is going to be able to see initially is, how much longer is the light going to be red?" said Brian Moen, with the city of Frisco engineering services.

The same technology is now making its way to Sugar Land.

About the Authors: