Traffic Lights: The Citizen's Daily Strife

Team: 23

School: Las Cruces High

Area of Science: Computer Science

Interim: Supercomputing Challenge Interim Report
Team Number: 023
School Name: Las Cruces High School
Area of Science: Computer Science
Project Title: Traffic Lights: The Citizen's Daily Strife

Definition of Problem

Traffic lights in Las Cruces must be timed and incorporated into a system that maximizes the efficiency of transit. Based on the current system, the government loses a lot of money due to a loss of productivity because people are late to work, which damages both local and national economy.[1]. According to Waze, a crowd based driving and traffic app, which takes a lot of opinions and details from a wide group of people, the intersection between Nacho Dr. and Lohman experiences a lot of congestion and traffic, as opposed to streets and around it. For context, that’s the road that leads to major stores and businesses such as Target, Albertsons, and Starbucks. In addition, according to a survey we took, people that have lived here since 2015-2016 have reported that the road suffers from a lot of congestion and traffic, and hasn’t improved since.

How We Plan to Solve the Problem

We plan to solve the problem in Las Cruces’ current system of traffic lights by timing the lights based on distance apart and speed limit. We plan to also create a sustainable algorithm to improve upon the holes in the current system. We want to create a model that will hopefully improve traffic circumstances and make driving in cities and anywhere there’s an intersection more efficient.

Progress Up to this Point

We researched Las Cruces’ old system to try and sync traffic lights, which worked, but only took effect on one street, where they implemented an “Intelligent Transportation System” which was deployed “on Lohman, between Nacho and Solano drives.”[5] First of all, this spans about 7/10 of a mile, which is nothing, and it wasn’t very successful, as Waze, a community-based traffic app, reports that segment to be congested throughout the day. Second of all, the way that they built the system, using “fiber optic lines and hard-wired connections between traffic signals”[5] The city planned to invest nearly $1 million into this system, which would include a control center. This would be beneficial, but the progress has entirely stopped. It must be restarted because more people will get to work on time, increasing business’ employees’ productivity, which will boost the local and national economy.

We have started the program in NetLogo, and the very basic world has been created. The car breeds are also a work in progress. The layout of the program has been created, but everything else is still yet to come.

What Results Are We Expecting?

We are expecting the traffic light program to be more efficient than the current system the city has, as their method isn’t timed to be efficient at all on more than two streets. We are expecting the lights to save cars a lot of gas, and also decrease the number of people waiting at lights across the city. The system we create should be cheap and somewhat simpler to implement into our actual current light system. If it works how we want it to, the system will also prevent people from running red lights, because they won’t have as many red lights on their way to their destination, making driving in the city safer. Overall, this new system we are making should be a great improvement to Las Cruces’ current traffic light system.


[1] Barry, K. (2014, September 11). The Traffic Lights of Tomorrow Will Actively Manage Congestion.
Retrieved December 4, 2018, from

[2] How Traffic Lights Sensors Work. (2018, May 24).
Retrieved December 4, 2018, from

[3] Shinar, D., Bourla, M., & Kaufman, L. (2004). Synchronization of traffic signals as a means of
reducing red-light running.
Retrieved December 4, 2018, from

[4] Taub, E. A. (2017, December 21). Start-Stop Technology Is Spreading (Like It or Not).
Retrieved December 4, 2018, from

[5] Traffic light program will ease commute. (2016, January 13).
Retrieved December 4, 2018, from

Team Members: Louis Pate, Isaac Ondo, Andrew Carreon, Joshua Kerner and Tiffany Monarco

Sponsoring Teacher: Lauren Curry

Team Members:

  Andrew Carreon
  Tiffany Monarco
  Louis Pate
  Isaac Ondo
  Joshua Kerner

Sponsoring Teacher: Lauren Curry

Mail the entire Team