Category Archives: Signal/Signage

What’s up with the SIDEWAYS STOPLIGHTS in Texas and Florida?

Some cities and states mount their traffic signals horizontally.  And I’ve always wondered why.  And evidently, so do you.  This is one of the most-asked questions you and other road fans have sent me. So, I dug in and found an answer: Four design considerations engineers in Texas, Florida, Nebraska, and New Mexico think about […]

Sending a TESLA down California’s MOST ZIG-ZAGGY street!

Petar, a fellow road fan, helps us indulge in a highly unscientific experiment: Sending a Tesla Model 3 (loaded with “Full Self Driving” tech) down California’s crookedest street! Sources cited: “Autopilot and Full Self-Driving Capability,” Tesla company statement. Retrieved 18 Oct. 2022. “SAE Levels of Driving Automation™ Refined for Clarity and International Audience,” SAE […]

Los Angeles THREW AWAY all their RED-LIGHT cameras?

At one point, Los Angeles had over 100 cameras to catch red-light runners. Then the city tore ’em all out. Here’s why. Research: “Police look to cameras to catch traffic violators”The Los Angeles Times, 13 Jun 2000, p.B4A “Voices: A Green Light on Red-Light Cameras”The Los Angeles Times, 8 Sep 2001, p.B21 “Red-Light Cameras Focus […]

Three ways to FIX a STOP LIGHT (so drivers ACTUALLY STOP!)

Some stop lights are broken. Even if every corner had a red-light camera, many people would still run red lights. Here are the three toolkits engineers use to reduce or eliminate red-light running— often without a camera!

Stop lights can… RUIN a street for bicyclists?

Crossing the street on your bike should be easy and safe. Stop lights to help you, also invite cars onto your bike route. Engineers in Tucson, Arizona solve this dilemma with two special signals just for bicycles (Toucans and BikeHAWKs).

Can this “HAWK” STOP LIGHT make walking feel SAFE again?

Middle-of-the-block crosswalks are terrible. Most do not qualify for a stop light. I meet the inventor of the Pedestrian Hybrid (HAWK) beacon, a traffic device that fixes America’s forgotten crosswalks.

Radar can make green lights longer?

The light turns yellow and you find yourself in a panic. Should I slam on my brakes and risk getting rear-ended? Or should I run the yellow— and possibly in the process, the red too? Every stop light on the planet has one of these “A BAD PLACES.” Radar technology can act like a life […]

Are some yellow lights TOO SHORT? (Math to check it!)

Getting a red light ticket feels really crummy. When yellow lights (“change intervals”) are set long enough, red light runners vanish. For safety, why don’t we double or triple the length of yellow lights? Check out pt. 2: Our brains and yellow lights — ——————————- Sources cited: ——————————- “Guidelines for Timing Yellow and All-Red […]

How do red lights “see” your car and know to turn green?

How does a traffic signal knows when to turn green? Especially late at night when you are the only driver on the road. In this video, I chat with two traffic signal experts: Mohammed Bendelhoum, an engineer with the California Dept. of Transportation (Caltrans) and Brian Girardo (Iteris) explore the history of vehicle detection (induction […]

Amazing Signal Sync: Wilshire Blvd

Have you seen these signs along Wilshire Blvd? I don’t often drive Wilshire. But when I do, it always seems to be the peak of afternoon rush hour. (Maybe Wilshire always feels crowded?) So as I sit at another red light, I look at these signs and just shake my head in frustration. It turns […]