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Traffic light

By ProblemSolverSolutionSeeker ·
I noticed the heavy volume on a recent post on bad drivers.

I spend almost 2 hours a day in traffic. I should carry a clicker sometime and count all of the traffic lights I go through, but it is upwards of 50 or more one way.

In this day of IT, why are traffic lights so horrible? There is one light that I have to go around since it will not allow me to go straight. Another light, that does left turn arrow first and only - yet no one ever turns that way. I see left turn lights that stay green way too long as well. I will not mention the light that catches me every morning that is there just for a department store that starts with a W*. Another light just seems to be there for the h of it. I could go on and on.

I estimate that 20-30 minutes a day are lost because lights are not operating properly.

Does any one else feel this way?

Is it safe to say that fixing these lights would greatly improve traffic and reduce pollution?

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Not so much a problem for me

by NickNielsen In reply to I hate rubberneckers

if they are already moving with or faster than I am as they proceed through the ramp. But if they wait until the last minute to try to pass, they're gonna eat shoulder.

I will admit that I usually do my best to make sure that I am not the poor SOB in the right lane when the ramp meets the highway.

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In a major metro area

by mjd420nova In reply to Traffic light

In the city where I live, the city planners are under a constant barrage of callers complaining about traffic lights either inoperative or malfunctioning. I see daily occurances of lights that refuse to trip via the loops placed in the road. Some are left turn lanes, others are crosswalks. I see a half dozen that trip for left turns when no one is there, others refuse to trip and others lock up on walk signs when no one pushed the button. A lot of these are from recent construction that have rendered the sensing loops either inoperative or sensing vehicles when none exist. Such are the perils of city driving. Motorcycles are another thing all together, but one trick I've used is to stop, shut off the motor and restart. This usually will trip the sensor and allow the turn arrow to come up. Many light cycles are controled by time of day also, changing the sequence depending on the time of day. The advent of technology has accelerated the usage of these tools to speed traffic flow, but can really screw up the works when sensors become faulty. You can't win them all.

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Flashing red for left turns

by RFink In reply to In a major metro area

In the Detroit metro area they use flashing red lights on the separate left turn signal so you don't have to wait forever to make a left turn. It's a great idea, I don't see it used anywhere

My pet peeve is when you have to wait for a light when there is no cross traffic. Common sense dictates you don't need traffic lights when there's no traffic. </peeve>

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Pistons, Redwings & Flashing red traffic lights...

by fungus-among-us In reply to Flashing red for left tur ...

Gee I guess Detroit isn't such a bad place to live after all.

"Makes you wonder about the agendas of city planners..."

Ever driven around Columbus Ohio? Damn civil engineers thought it'd be a great idea to save on some real estate by putting the on-ramp directly in front of (about 30 yeard spacing) an off-ramp... makes for some great merges!

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They have those same type of on/off ramps in Michigan

by OnTheRopes In reply to Pistons, Redwings & Flash ...

and all around the USA. Not fun.

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Definitely all over

by NickNielsen In reply to Pistons, Redwings & Flash ...

The local example of this is called "Malfunction Junction" and actually flows pretty smoothly most of the time. People seem to automatically "zipper" on and off the freeway. (Zipper - vehicles alternate off the ramp, on the ramp, off the ramp, etc., like the teeth on a zipper.) But this being the US, there's always at least one a$$hole who has to be in front. It's really fun to watch when two of these get side by side; one wants to leave the interstate, the other wants to merge, but neither will give an inch. It's so funny sometimes to watch these people drive off the road rather than be courteous.

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Flashing Red is Michigan Standard

by LAConvis In reply to Flashing red for left tur ...

I also live in Michigan, the Grand Rapids area. The flashing red light on left turn signals is a statewide standard and not limited to Detroit.

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No traffic, no lights?

by oldmaven In reply to Flashing red for left tur ...

Lights are often on timed cycles, sometimes synchronized to make traffic flow at a desires speed ( if you make one light, you theoretically make them all). Fixed timing always means some red lights when there's no cross traffic. But there is now a growing variety of traffic sensors, most of which do not require digging, as inductive loops do (e.g., pole-mounted video cameras, pole-mounted radar, systems that count cell-phone density and track cellphone speeds, micro sensors...). These can be linked to intelligent traffic-light controllers, and probably are in some places; they also lead to better traffic-flow reporting, feeding better systems to get traffic info to drivers. Eventually, cars will communicate directly, radioing back "it's congested here, be ready to slow down"--not driver to driver but car to car.

It will cost money and take a while, but these systems are cumulative --after you've wired one road, you go n and wire the next.

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Deadly combination

by Jeffykins In reply to In a major metro area

Stupidity and cheapness.

I used to work with a bunch of guys who had previously done sophisticated traffic light control, and here's how they explained it:

It's easy to set up so traffic flows very smoothly, but the slightest malfunction messes the whole thing up. There's no maintenance, so it never stays good for longer than a month. Plus, every power blink makes another mess. Plus, most places are too dumb and cheap to spend the few extra $$ to even put in sophisticated controls in the first place. This is especially true of any place that was recently rural, which I think explains a lot.

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You said "the slightest malfunction "

by OnTheRopes In reply to Deadly combination

and I have to agree. Traffic management is not easy with both engineering problems and driver problems.

I can't find the link for it but I've seen a video and study on the German Autobahn where one hard braking incident in heavy traffic, (picture a driver almost missing his exit), can cause people to brake for up to an hour afterwards in a ripple effect.

I think that would explain how you can be in heavy traffic and people seem to brake for no reason at all somedays and other days traffic flows smoothly.

"Make it idiot-proof and someone will make a better idiot." - Victor Hugo

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