Audi Expands Traffic Light Information to Washington, D.C.

Some D.C. Audi drivers will now get a countdown to green lights.

Audi drivers in Washington, D.C. now have one less reason to get stressed out. Audi is launching its Traffic Light Information system in the District of Columbia, telling drivers exactly how long they'll have to wait for the next green light. The system is already available in seven other U.S. cities.

Traffic Light Information is available on certain 2017 and 2018 Audi models. It relies on vehicle-to-infrastructure communication, or V2I, which allows a car to "talk" to a connected traffic light through a built-in 4G LTE connection. At compatible traffic lights, the system displays the time remaining until the light goes green in the instrument cluster or head-up display.

Companies see lots of potential in V2I. Audi believes future iterations of Traffic Light Information could link to a car's engine start/stop system, or feed data on traffic lights to the navigation system in order to help predict faster routes. Automotive supplier Continental is testing an "intelligent intersection" in Ohio, with the aim of using V2I to reduce collisions.

But this technology relies on large numbers of vehicles and structures being equipped with the necessary hardware. Audi says that more than 1,600 U.S. intersections currently support Traffic Light Information, but that's far from all of them. The system is currently active only in D.C., Las Vegas, Dallas, Houston, Denver, Portland, Oregon, and Palo Alto and Arcadia, California.

Audi only introduced Traffic Light Information in the U.S. in 2016, so only relatively recent cars from the German automaker are equipped with it. At least Audi is trying to make the most of V2I. The company is also introducing an integrated toll transponder that replaces the passes drivers typically stick to their windshields with velcro.