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The lounge Relax, take a break from photo and camera talk - have a chat about something else for a change. Just keep it clean and polite!

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  #1  
Old 22nd July 2015
Jim Ford Jim Ford is offline
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Traffic Lights!

Why is it that we have the technology to put a rover on Mars and send a probe to Pluto, but traffic lights are as 'dumb' as they were 50 years ago?

How much fuel is wasted and pollution caused by traffic backed up on a red light, while the green light lanes are empty?

Jim
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Old 22nd July 2015
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Re: Traffic Lights!

Or both directions stuck on red!
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Old 22nd July 2015
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Re: Traffic Lights!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Ford View Post
Why is it that we have the technology to put a rover on Mars and send a probe to Pluto, but traffic lights are as 'dumb' as they were 50 years ago?

How much fuel is wasted and pollution caused by traffic backed up on a red light, while the green light lanes are empty?

Jim
It's not wasted, it's used to generate massive amounts of tax revenue for the government, as has been admitted in the past by local councils who deliberately set traffic lights to ensure that if you drive at the speed limits you have to stop at every single set. So the lights aren't dumb, and neither are the people who set them to rip us off!

Cheers,

Ralph.
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Old 22nd July 2015
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Re: Traffic Lights!

In many other countries, the lights flash at night when there is very little traffic.

Flashing RED means STOP and proceed if clear

Flashing AMBER means SLOW for junction but you have priority.

In Italy RED is GO for Ferrari drivers, YELLOW is GO for Lamborghini drivers and GREEN is Go, for everyone else, if there are no other Super Cars about.

In China RED is good, so I guess they all GO on RED.

In Mexico they are purely for decoration.

In India, they indicate places where fate may take a hand in your progress...
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Old 22nd July 2015
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Re: Traffic Lights!

You can make a right turn on most red lights in North America. I've sometimes made left turns on red in the UK. When my passengers freak I explain I'm allowed to as I'm using my Canadian license.
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Old 22nd July 2015
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Re: Traffic Lights!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Ford View Post
Why is it that we have the technology to put a rover on Mars and send a probe to Pluto, but traffic lights are as 'dumb' as they were 50 years ago?

How much fuel is wasted and pollution caused by traffic backed up on a red light, while the green light lanes are empty?

Jim
About 1/4 of a mile from home there is a set of lights which had traffic detectors fitted. They worked as lights usually do when traffic was heavy but when traffic was light they detected approaching cars and turned the lights to green. So eminently sensible that the system has now been discontinued and the detectors removed

Barking!!
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Old 22nd July 2015
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Re: Traffic Lights!

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Originally Posted by Magus View Post
About 1/4 of a mile from home there is a set of lights which had traffic detectors fitted. They worked as lights usually do when traffic was heavy but when traffic was light they detected approaching cars and turned the lights to green. So eminently sensible that the system has now been discontinued and the detectors removed

Barking!!
Like so many of these systems, they are installed following a "Target" or "Policy". They are procured at lowest price and when they fail, the repair/replacement cost fall foul of another "Target" or "Policy".

My pet hate is TLs on perfectly functional roundabouts.
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Old 22nd July 2015
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Re: Traffic Lights!

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Originally Posted by Graham_of_Rainham View Post
My pet hate is TLs on perfectly functional roundabouts.
A notorious set of local roundabout traffic lights were temporarily taken out of commission for repair earlier in the year. Motorists found that the traffic flowed much more smoothly with them not working and a petition was started to abolish them entirely. The petition had the support of the Mayor and local MP.

The Herts. highways authority also agreed that traffic flow was improved without lights. Of course they couldn't have that! The traffic lights were soon reinstated and now we're back to long tailbacks!

http://www.watfordobserver.co.uk/new...say_motorists/

Jim
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Old 23rd July 2015
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Re: Traffic Lights!

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Originally Posted by David M View Post
You can make a right turn on most red lights in North America. I've sometimes made left turns on red in the UK. When my passengers freak I explain I'm allowed to as I'm using my Canadian license.
I'm not surprised they freaked, but we do have the odd intersection where that is allowed (after first stopping & checking there is no traffic) with a sign to indicate it but otherwise no.

I remember travelling north out of Sydney early one morning when I was young (many years ago) to visit my girlfriend at their holiday location (north of Newcastle) & I religiously stopped for the red light but when I realised the truck bearing down on me from behind wasn't going to stop I quickly changed my mind & stepped on it & took off in a hurry!
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Old 25th July 2015
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Re: Traffic Lights!

We have a local set which perform no useful function. They were put in as a "pound of flesh", aka Section 106 Agreement, from developers who built adjacent blocks of flats. Therefore they are "political" and cannot be removed under any circumstances.

It is a four-way junction with five phases, one for the main road (99% of traffic), one each for entering the side roads from the main road, ditto for entering the side roads. These all operate on a time basis, usually with no traffic entering or exiting the side roads when the main road is on red. (One side road has most of its people in the cemetery at the far end!).

Traffic entering the main road from the other junction, some 30 yards away, has nowhere to get in because of a tailback from the inevitable red light at our favourite set.

A few months ago, they were removed, updates and refitted. Then, for several days, with huge tail-backs due to the exercise, the engineers monitored and adjusted the phasing to overcome the previous problems. This seemed to give some improvement at first but the situation is now just a before, huge sums having been spent fruitlessly.

O, did I mention that we have a labour majority council?

Harold
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Old 25th July 2015
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Re: Traffic Lights!

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Originally Posted by Harold Gough View Post

O, did I mention that we have a labour majority council?

Harold
Well, that's one mitigating factor; things could be a lot worse for you.
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Old 25th July 2015
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Re: Traffic Lights!

Busy complex junctions don't necessarily need traffic lights. In Hemel Hempstead there's the 'Magic Roundabout' with 6 mini-roundabouts in a ring. A lot of people find it intimidating and avoid it, but it's a doddle really and the traffic flows smoothly

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_...mel_Hempstead))

There are other 'Magic Roundabouts'.

Jim
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Old 25th July 2015
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Re: Traffic Lights!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Ford View Post
Busy complex junctions don't necessarily need traffic lights. In Hemel Hempstead there's the 'Magic Roundabout' with 6 mini-roundabouts in a ring. A lot of people find it intimidating and avoid it, but it's a doddle really and the traffic flows smoothly

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_...mel_Hempstead))

There are other 'Magic Roundabouts'.

Jim
Yes there's one in Colchester as well, very effective. Mind you the first time I encountered the one in Hemel Hempstead when it was introduced I was confused by the road sign, it looked like a flower pattern.

Another inovation which works well is on roundabouts where a dual carriageway main route takes the first exit and there is a slip lane which enable you to proceed without having to give way to traffic coming from the right.

Regards.
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Old 26th July 2015
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Re: Traffic Lights!

I remember the Hemel Hempstead roundabout, there was one consisting of three mini roundabouts in the Midlands I seem to remember.

Roundabouts are so rare in North America they cause fear and confusion to a lot of drivers.
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Old 26th July 2015
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Re: Traffic Lights!

There is one in Swindon, I think it's a 5-way.

One problem with traffic lights that respond to presence of traffic (for example so that they will general sit on green for a main road but switch when something comes up the minor road) is that they sometimes don't respond to smaller vehicles. Fat blokes on bicycles for example.

John
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