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blinking traffic light paradigm

The other day i was walking across the street "illegally" as it were since opposing traffic had the green light, but there weren't cars anywhere close to coming by. Pedestrians have this option - if i want to cross the street i don't actually have to wait for a walk signal. and it occurred to me - this is how it should be for cars too.

in the area where i grew up (eastern PA), there was this thing that happened with certain traffic lights after a certain hour where they would convert from the normal red-yellow-green to blinking red and blinking yellow. This was for low-traffic times, between, say, 21:00-06:00. The idea was that during non-peak times, what was normally steady traffic would be non-existent enough that you could treat the blinking-red as the equivalent of stop signs.

So why don't we adopt this all of the time? Instead of lights trading turns as red-yellow-green, lights trade turns as blinking red and blinking yellow. Exception-cases can have the normal red-yellow-green paradigm, but the idea is that most lights can function as blinking red/yellow.

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derien
Jun. 8th, 2012 09:57 am (UTC)
It would probably work once people got used to it. I still find it a bit weird that any time there's a big storm all the lights in my town in Maine convert to blinking red or yellow. I blink. I go "Oh, it's really blinking. Must be a really big storm, then." The dominant road is usually blinking yellow and the one they consider to be the indumping road is blinking red.
lifeofmendel
Jun. 8th, 2012 10:46 am (UTC)
right, that's the way it worked in PA too, the dominant road was always blinking yellow. having the blinking red/yellow rotate like regular traffic lights feels like it could be a successful model, especially since we generally already do that by usually allowing a right turn on red.
derien
Jun. 8th, 2012 11:56 am (UTC)
we generally already do that by usually allowing a right turn on red.

Well, kind of... though people often conveniently forget that one IS supposed to stop first, before turning right. :)
Jeffrey W Anton
Jun. 8th, 2012 03:49 pm (UTC)
I actually prefer that they do away with traffic lights all together and just implement traffic circles. They always seem much more efficient to me.
musicgoddess917
Jun. 10th, 2012 03:13 am (UTC)
4-way stops suck, especially when people don't know how they work. The town where I went to college had two 4-way stops, both were four-lane intersections. Those were a nightmare until they put in actual traffic lights there.
In St. Cloud they've put in a few roundabouts in different places in the past few years, and boy did people panic over those. They aren't hard to figure out, especially if you've been to Europe, but in a rural area populated by a lot of rednecks it maybe wasn't the best idea. :P
musicgoddess917
Jun. 10th, 2012 03:15 am (UTC)
Oh, I should mention that the 4-lane nightmare 4-way stops were on one of the major state highways.
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