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Vehicle: Traffic Light
get ready traffic light   (+3, -2)  [vote for, against]
Save energy by anticipating the green

For really long red traffic lights (1 minute plus) the usual red/yellow/green scheme is employed. While the light is red, you pull up and stop, and stop your engine. As the time nears for the light to turn green, the yellow light begins to blink for 10 seconds as the red stays steady on. Then green light. This gives you 10+ seconds to start your engine to go again. Wonder how much fuel we could save?
-- wittyhoosier, May 08 2006

Countdown_20to_20Go_20signals [xaviergisz, May 08 2006]

Digital_20Stoplight [xaviergisz, May 08 2006]

...or the yellow light gives everyone a chance to rev their engines so they can lay rubber while accelerating.
-- sninctown, May 08 2006

//Wonder how much fuel we could save?//
Sure - what we save on gas, we'd throw down the tubes for batteries, alternators and starter motors.
-- Letsbuildafort, May 08 2006

I read that you should only turn off your engine if you are going to be stopped for more than 2 minutes.
-- MikeOliver, May 08 2006

I dunno about that, but I certainly know that it is a hard few seconds on your engine.
-- Letsbuildafort, May 08 2006

How long do the lights stay red where you drive? We wouldn't have time to shut off the engine and start it again without a bunch of people honking horns immediately.
-- xandram, May 08 2006

This wouldn't be for all lights, only really long ones. There is an intersection near my home where 6 streets come together, and it is a real mess. The light is an eternity.
-- wittyhoosier, May 09 2006

Pastry. If for nothing else, the traffic control systems in the United States are far below our technological means. The proliferation of more traffic-sensitive control systems would still be a better first step. I hate being behind a line of 10 cars at a red light, when there is no cross traffic moving through the intersection.

As far as vehicle technology, there is no reason why an alternator and a starter cannot be built into a single unit. Hybrid cars achieve this, making start/stop less painful for the engine. An eletric supplementary oil pump would also help.
-- ed, May 09 2006

A lot of older engines and lawn tractors, etc. had generator starters. It started the engine then charged up the battery.
-- wittyhoosier, Aug 04 2006

random, halfbakery