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MIT Software Can Predict Red Light Runners

New Algorithm might help prevent accidents.

by on Dec.05, 2011

A crash caused by a driver running a red light caught by a camera in Worth, IL.

It’s happened to just about everyone.  The light turns green, you step on the throttle and just as you pull into the intersection a car races across your path.  If you’re lucky, you hit the brakes in time, mutter a curse under your breath and then drive on.  But many motorists aren’t so lucky, with red light runners causing tens of thousands of accidents annually – many resulting in serious injuries or fatalities.

Efforts to crack down have had only moderate impact, even with the increasing use of automatic traffic enforcement cameras.

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But researchers at MIT think they may have a better solution: a newly-developed algorithm they suggest is highly effective at predicting when a motorist will run a red light.

While the system would only be able to provide a second or two’s warning, researchers believe that could be enough to prevent an accident, perhaps even save a life.