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Traffic Signal State Transmitter

Universally Accessible Traffic Lights
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A giant radio loop is buried in the road for the 50 yards or so in each direction leading up to a traffic light. The loop transmits a pulse on one of several frequencies, depending on the state of the light (i.e. red, yellow, red with right turn green arrow, etc.) which can be picked up by a receiver in the vehicle. The receiver then verbally announces the light's current status. This way, traffic signals can become accessible to the blind.

Alternatively, the signal status information could be passed to a Braille display embedded in the periphery of the steering wheel.

ytk, Jul 15 2013

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       I like the idea mostly because it becomes a step towards self driving cars. I would argue that the pavement loop isn't required, as a directional transmitter pointing out and down from the light itself should also serve.
MechE, Jul 15 2013
  

       //a directional transmitter pointing out and down from the light//   

       I had considered that, but was concerned that it might not be as reliable—the signal path might be blocked by a large truck, say. Also, with two lights in close proximity, the signals might be prone to interfering with each other.
ytk, Jul 15 2013
  

       I would recommend a bit of other data be included with that signal: how many seconds remaining until the light changes. Then, if this data was received by a car approaching the light, the driver (or future autopilot) could be informed on what speed to travel at, to arrive when the light becomes green.
Vernon, Jul 15 2013
  

       Hmm, thinking about the loop, why not just make a bigger loop and get the cars to circle in that until the light turns green?
not_morrison_rm, Jul 15 2013
  

       How about using different wavelengths of visible light to represent the different signal states?
Wrongfellow, Jul 15 2013
  

       Would you not be able to transmit on the loop that's already in the road for vehicle detection?
lurch, Jul 16 2013
  

       It doesn't go back far enough, unfortunately. The driver wouldn't be able to find out what the state of the light is until it's potentially too late to do anything about it.
ytk, Jul 16 2013
  

       // This way, traffic signals can become accessible to the blind. //   

       Redundant ... there is already a perfectly useable audio indication signal. It's the sound of metal being crushed, torn and twisted - it's very distictive, you can't miss it ...
8th of 7, Jul 16 2013
  
      
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