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Scientists exploring how artificial intelligence could help ease traffic on Long Island Expressway

Looking to technology to cut down on LIE traffic
Looking to technology to cut down on LIE traffic 02:17

GREAT NECK, N.Y. -- If you think your morning or evening commutes have gotten busier, you're not alone.

New Census Bureau survey data shows drivers across America are dealing with longer commute times, as commuting using cars is crawling back post-pandemic.

The rate of people driving to work alone climbed from 67.8% in 2021 to 68.7% in 2022, and for carpoolers it went from 7.8% to 8.6%. The actual time people spent traveling to work jumped almost a full minute, from 25.8 minutes to 26.4 minutes.

On Long Island, commuters told CBS New York's John Dias problems have been plaguing the Long Island Expressway.

"Almost like a bad marriage," said driver Addo Wessin.

If he could, Wessin said he would divorce the LIE since his commute time almost doubled recently.

"Getting progressively worse," said Wessin.

While no specific data for the LIE has been publicly released, experts believe there are certain factors that are adding to the congestion:

  • New erratic work schedules
  • More trucks delivering online shopping orders
  • New construction projects

"For sure less capacity because of construction projects," said Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering Technology at Farmingdale State College Michael Shenoda.

The LIE is more than 50 years old, and the most recent numbers show almost 700,000 vehicles travel on it each day.

"If we were to design and build the LIE from scratch, now, it would probably look very different than the way it looks now," said Shenoda.

Due to lack of space, adding extra lanes to the nearly 67-mile long roadway isn't an easy fix. But one option could be to install artificial intelligence.

"It is able to digest to not only a video, which is basic technology, it's able to look at all kinds of sensor technology and triangulate," said David Desharnais, President & COO of Rekor Systems.

Rekor Systems specializes in roadway intelligence. Desharnais says AI technology could make the LIE a smarter road.

"You need to know when an incident happens, even predict when an incident might happen and be able to take remedial action and get it out of the way," said Desharnais. "Get it back to recover as quick as possible."

A spokesperson for the NYS DOT told us it is always on the lookout for innovative technology and "...the department intends to examine any potential uses for artificial intelligence as the technology evolves."

While some drivers fear AI due to privacy concerns, it seems AI on the LIE could be the fix to commuter frustrations. 

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