Traffic Lights That Punish Speeders

from the reprogramming-those-with-lead-feet dept

Over in the city of Pleasanton, California, they’re launching a new traffic light that detects speeders – and hits them with a red light. While plenty of lights have sensors to let them know when to turn green, this one is designed to cool off the speeders and slow them down a bit. It watches for speeders, and when they’re spotted, it turns the light red, to make them slow down. Some are against this, but I can’t see what they have to complain about, really. They’re not getting fined. They’re not getting pulled over. They’re just being forced to stop at a perfectly legitimate stoplight.

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Comments on “Traffic Lights That Punish Speeders”

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August Jackson (user link) says:

This isn't new... or is it?

There are actually two traffic lights (of which I know) in Herndon, Virginia that are announced by signs that tell drivers that the traffic light they are approaching will turn red if they are speeding. I’ve never been too convinced of the truth behind these signs, because whether or not they turn red or green seems completely arbitrary to me. I’ve slowed down to below the speed limit only to be stopped– even when I’m the only car in the vicinity. I’ve also flown right by at speeds five to ten miles per hour above the speed limit and had the light remain green.

But, yeah, if alll you’ve got to do is to wait at a light rather than get a ticket I would say you’ve got nothing about which to complain. In our nation’s capital you get a ticket, eh. If nothing else you would know that there’s no point in hurrying and you’ll go faster if you mantain the speed limit.

bob says:

Not just the speeder

While it seems reasonable that a speeder should pay the small penalty of an extra red light, what about anybody else on the road at the same time? Why should they encounter a red light that would have been green except for the behavior of another driver? It’s like we’re back in gym class when everyone had to run laps because the class clown did something that irritated the coach.

mgallagher says:

I wonder about how this can scale up

One of the big advantages to interconnected signal systems is to do signal coordination along heavily traveled corridors. I even helped design a system that would detect certain traffic-affecting factors and cause a series of signals to re-time themselves to accomodate road blockages.

I curious about how having an individual signal break its coordinated timing plan to slow down a speeder would affect the overall efficiency of the corridor (Level of Service in traffic engineering speak). It is a neat idea, but I wonder about the unintended consequences. Urban signal systems can be surprisingly complex.

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