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Countdown to Go signals

10-9-8...
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Same goes for them Stoplights. Yeehah.
thumbwax, Sep 16 2000

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       Something like the start lights for car races? Cool!
BigThor, Sep 16 2000
  

       Then you'd get people trying to beat them like start lights for car races, and more accidents as people try to beat them turning red.
StarChaser, Sep 16 2000
  

       Too bad the speed demons are also culling innocent bystanders out of the general population, too. "TOIAEIA" usually only applies when the person is only hurting themselves...   

       In general, I'd like to see the complete countdown timer. The more information I have, the more easily I'll be able to make decisions, and the better I'll drive. ("Should I get in the left lane and wait for the turn arrow, or go straight and turn at the next light? Does the turn arrow come before or after the green light in this particular intersection? I forget. Hmm...")
egnor, Sep 16 2000
  

       In Somerville, MA the walk signals have a countdown timer, so you can see if you have 30 seconds or 3 to get across.
blahginger, Sep 16 2000
  

       Yellow before green would be a really bad idea in the states, where yellow means, "step on it, the light's about to turn red".
Scott_D, Sep 17 2000
  

       Red means stop, green means go, yellow means 'go faster'.
StarChaser, Sep 17 2000
  

       In Denmark they use yellow before green (briefly), as well as the usual longer yellow before red.
bristolz, Oct 22 2000
  

       I like the idea, but the denmark guy gave me an idea, with the brief yellow. let's say your clipping along and you see that green light ahead of you, but it's still a long way, so you don't get too exited, you think you'll never make it. but noooooo, it stays green, and stays green, pretty soon you get to point of no return. gas it, or slow down.etc. if the yellow would flash twice 10 seconds before turning yellow, it would give you time to speed up slightly (then slow down just as you approach the intersection) ,or give it up, and prepare to stop. this would avoid missing an opportunity to go on thru.   

       when you have to do "the panic stop", you feel like you could have handled it differenty, and you want to get more aggresive next time.   

       AAHHHHH!
cornpad, Nov 09 2000
  

       In London, traffic signals illuminate both yellow and red briefly before going green. Seems like a decent idea.   

       BTW, in Boston at some intersections, it used to be (don't know if it still is) that pushing the pedestrian button would cause (after a time) all four directions to illuminate both yellow and red lights. At this point, with all traffic stopped, pedestrians may cross in all directions including diagonally.   

       The predecessor to yellow+red was flashing green. There were many accidents, however, by motorists who didn't realize that flashing green meant cars were supposed to stop(!)
supercat, Nov 09 2000
  

       I think I saw this in MAD Magazine (correct me if I'm wrong) :
"The shortest measurable unit of time is the 'New York Second,' defined as the time elapsed between the light in front of you turning green and the jerk in the car behind you leaning on his 200dB horn..."
  

       [Added: actually from a Pratchett book, as pointed out below.]
Detly, Nov 11 2000
  

       Chicago KNOWS how to handle traffic, doesn't it? Rush hour Chicago is a breeze thanks to Traffic Officers keeping the traffic moving. I wish Los Angeles Traffic Officials would send two Intelligent [that's the hard part] officials to Chicago to see how it's done.
thumbwax, Nov 17 2000
  

       All the traffic signals in Canton (or Guangzhou if you prefer) China are like this... Countdown clocks for both red and green cycles.
kschang, Jan 20 2002
  

       Dude: I've been to that city. If you're driving there, you're in big trouble, signals or no...
snarfyguy, Jan 20 2002
  

       [Detly] I believe that quote was originally from a Pratchett book - perhaps TimHighfield could tell which one.
cp, Jan 20 2002
  

       As requested...'Lords and Ladies'   

       Is there an optional Murray Walker-voiced countdown- "Amber light, red light, red light, red light, red light, red light, red light, GREEN LIGHT GO GO GO!"?
TimHighfield, Jan 20 2002
  

       All the traffic lights in Taiwan have a countdown, as to all the traffic lights in Jiangyin (about four hours by suicide bus from Shanghai). In fact, they have all kinds of cool road/telecoms/transport technology, more than my home city of London at times.
gadgetear, Jan 21 2002
  

       I wish I could vote more times for this one! Every red light should have a countdown clock indicating when it will turn green.   

       <rant> I really hate it when I pull up to a red light and have no idea if it has detected me. Every morning I must make a left turn to enter the freeway on my way to work and every morning I must wait a random amount of time. Anywhere from .1 seconds up to > 5 minutes. On the days when I must wait up to > 5 minutes I end up reversing over the sensor a few times just to make certain that I tripped it. How peaceful my life could be, if the light had a "count down ‘til green" timer.</rant>
namuh, Jan 30 2003
  

       In Natal, Brazil, this is already commonplace. There are 5 green lights arranged vertically, 5 red lights also vertically, and a single yellow light at the bottom in between the bottom-most red and green, i.e.:   

       R G   

       R G   

       R G   

       R G   

       RYG   

       If memory serves (it's been almost a year), the top light stays lit and one light "moves down" as time approaches, then moves to yellow, then to the other side (red or green).   

       It could be there's no yellow on the way to green, I don't recall.
Thing 1, Jan 30 2003
  

       Not bad not bad at all. Just pretend your at a dragstrip. Overnight you can increase the number of s by 30%. Who cares it'll make driving more enjoyable. You can almost look forward to the commute.
joshkouri, Apr 29 2003
  

       If there are advanced greens for the turning lanes, you can watch them for when they turn yellow, then red. Shortly after is your turn.   

       If there aren't advanced greens, and you can't see the crossing road's lights due to clever shielding, then watching the crosswalk signals is another good indication. When the hand starts to flash, put it in gear. When the hand goes solid, you'll get the green within a few seconds.   

       I usually watch the hand on the cross street of an intersection to see if it has gone solid or not. If it has, I know I'll get the yellow and begin to slow down.   

       Works every time.
rapid transit, May 25 2003
  

       // When the hand starts to flash, put it in gear. //   

       That's called a 'stale green' light, so I've heard.
waugsqueke, May 25 2003
  

       It's a stale red, actually. But I guess it's a stale green for those approaching on the cross street. It'd seem to me to be pretty silly to introduce relative viewpoints into this, though.   

       Unless some of us drive at relativistic speeds, which I don't doubt.
rapid transit, May 25 2003
  

       mmmm. i use a passmoore's approach. looking at the other traffic's light . but i take that a step further by slightly speeding (to keep up with traffic) to get through the next light because they all are on a timer. or if i pass under a yellow light, that means i don't have to wait and i will be early for the next light so i slow down accordingly. BTW the fastest way through a light is to go on streets without them!!!! in our small town our main has 7 lights the sidestreet none. plus speed limits 25 to 30 so go I faster period
I2RI, May 26 2003
  

       It's called a stale green because it's 'getting ready to turn'.
waugsqueke, May 26 2003
  

       One of the great smuggy thrills I get out of driving is being passed by some jackass (note: everyone else is a jackass when driving) who waits until the last possible moment to brake at a red. Meanwhile, I anticipate the situation, brake a bit, shift into a lower gear, see the ped. light go solid, hit the gas, and fly past the dork before he even gets to 2nd gear.   

       The warm/fuzzy feeling is further amplified if I do this past a huge group of traffic in a lane that most people forget exists.   

       Makes me feel special.
rapid transit, May 26 2003
  

       I just had this idea, but of course someone else thought of it first.   

       Anyway, like [egnor] I want more complete information. It should transmit to a programmable device in the car, including several light cycles ahead, so you can slow down or speed up just enough to get through the green light even when the lights are on a fast cycle and you're far away.
caspian, Jan 02 2005
  

       Also to add, downtown Salt Lake has the digital timer. Once the "flashing red hand" goes, there's a digital second timer next to it to tell you when you need to start revving your engine. Err---walk fast.
AfroAssault, Apr 04 2005
  

       Bangkok traffic lights work exactly this way, with a countdown in the same color as the current light. I'll post pictures when I get back.   

       [And I hope you all appreciate me interrupting my vacation to tell you this!]
DrCurry, Jan 02 2008
  

       This one is baked in India as well, oddly enough. Most of the big traffic lights in Delhi have countdowns showing how many seconds are left before the light will turn red or green.   

       Wonder why they don't have them here ? (London). Maybe it's because English drivers are less impatient ?
bumhat, Jan 02 2008
  

       This might be useful to help clear turning lanes, as I find that when the signal changes while somebody's fiddling with their cellphone half the queue misses the light and has to wait another full cycle.   

       I don't remember this being a problem in the UK, which does have the red+amber phase right before green.
b153b, May 02 2016
  

       we've got the countdown to the stop sequence that runs on the pedestrian signals. Useful when they work but not actually fun.
FlyingToaster, May 02 2016
  
      
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