For more than 100 years drivers across the United States have navigated intersections with the aid of red, yellow and green traffic signals. Will New York State see the addition of a 4th color added to these signals? Most likely, yes!

Red means stop, yellow is for caution and green means go. It's driving 101 so why would we ever have the need for a 4th color and what color would it be? Here's what we know so far.

With the increase of autonomous vehicles a 4th color could be added to traffic signals. Britannica defines autonomous vehicles in-part as an automobile that employs driver assisted technologies to remove the need for a human operator.

An added component to AV could be a white traffic light added to the standard red, yellow and green. This white light is expected to help with the flow of traffic. Here's how it would work.

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This "white phase concept", and what is being researched at North Carolina State University today, is connecting AV with each other as well as the traffic control system. As AV approach an intersection the white light would activate.

The white lights will let human drivers know they should follow the car in front of them. Basically, the white light is a signal that AVs are guiding traffic through the intersection with more efficiently.

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The next phase of this research is to consider the impact of pedestrian traffic.

Our previous research found that the more AVs there are on the road, the more efficiently the traffic moves. To be clear, this improves travel time, fuel efficiency and safety for all of the cars on the road – not just AVs. - Ali Hajbabaie, NC State University

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