There are now reportedly as many cars on the road as there are households and it only takes a brief journey during rush hour to realise that this claim is quite possibly true.
Congestion is a huge problem in our towns and cities and controlling this traffic and keeping it moving is one of the most essential aspects of reducing congestion. Safety is also a concern on our roads as the chances of all those vehicles travelling around without occasionally hitting each other is close to zero but the problem can be exemplified by poor traffic management.
When it comes to controlling the traffic flows of our cities there is no greater weapon than the humble traffic light. In some cities these devices are simple timed lights that stop traffic one way and allow it the other and vice versa.
However, the potential of how traffic lights can reduce congestion is now being realised and thanks to the millisecond synchronisation made possible with NTP servers is now drastically reducing congestion is some of the world’s major cities.
Rather than just simple timed segments of green, amber and red, traffic lights can respond to the needs of the road, allowing more cars through in one direction whilst reducing it in others. They can also be used in conjunction with each other allowing green light passageways for cars in main routes.
However, all this is only possible if the traffic lights system throughout the whole city is synchronised together and that can only be achieved with a NTP time server.
NTP (Network Time Protocol) is simply an algorithm that is widely used for the purposes of synchronisation. A NTP server will receive a time signal from a precise source (normally an atomic clock) and the NTP software then distributes it amongst all devices on a network (in this case the traffic lights).
The NTP server will continually check the time on each device and ensure it corresponds to the time signal, ensuring all devices (traffic lights) are perfectly synchronised together allowing the entire traffic light system to be managed as a single, flexible traffic management system rather than individual random lights.