T-rev's Blog

8 2004-12-08 11:58 traffic lights

finally (for now), here's an easy way we could make the world a slightly better place. at night, traffic signals should flash. some here used to, but no more. i suppose it's just easier to have them always function the same way.

i frequently drive at night and find it silly that i'm expected to sit through a traffic signal's cycle that is optimized for rush hour when there is not another car in sight. i sort of think "traffic lights" should only be in force when there is actually traffic. the purpose of traffic lights is twofold: safety and traffic flow. why should it be against the rules to run a red light if neither safety nor traffic flow is compromised? i always try to drive safely, of course. but why waste gas (thus increasing pollution), brake pads, and my time for nothing? i don't necessarily think we need to change the traffic law, but i don't necessarily think it's bad to violate the letter of the law if you maintain the spirit.

anyway, here's my idea: many old signals have sensors under the pavement. most all new signals have optical sensors. why not have the lights go to flashing mode after a given length time in which traffic flow is below a given threshold? it seems like this would be easy and very inexpensive to do at the manufacturing phase at least. i suppose it would be less strategic if the sensors were unreliable, since you wouldn't want flashing lights during rush hour due to a failed sensor.


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