Copenhagen Invests in 380 Bike-friendly Intelligent Traffic Lights

Copenhagen will be the first Scandinavian city to install intelligent traffic lights at every intersection.

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Times are changing. As cities fill up with people and we crawl towards Peak Congestion, more people are hopping out of their cars and onto bikes and buses. They’re attracted by the idea of cutting travel times, reducing their carbon footprint, saving some cash, and enjoying the many social and health benefits of active transportation. While these social changes are happening at a rapid pace, the infrastructure and technology needed to support them can, and often does, lag behind. In line with their reputation as one the most bike-friendly cities in the world, Copenhagen, Denmark is overhauling their traffic signalling system to keep up with the changing needs of its residents.

As the Cycling Embassy of Denmark reports, Copenhagen recently invested in 380 intelligent traffic signals (which will cover every downtown intersection), to ease traffic flow and reduce congestion. The lights are part of a 47 millioner kroner (around $8.8 million USD/ $12 million CAD) package to modernize Copenhagen’s traffic system. The lights are online, and have sensors to determine what type of road user is approaching the intersection and in what numbers in order to prioritize signalling according to demand.

The new lights will have dedicated signalling for bikes and public transit.  It is estimated that bus passengers will enjoy a 5-20% reduction in their travel time, and people riding bikes will see their travel times drop by around 10%.

“The old signals were worn out,” Technical and Environmental Mayor Morten Kabell told the Cycling Embassy. “The new signals will ensure green waves and a better traffic management in Copenhagen in general.”

Copenhagen is the first Scandinavian city to install intelligent traffic lights across the whole city.

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