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Does Your City Turn Off Its Traffic Lights?  
User currently offlineFlyMIA From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 7108 posts, RR: 9
Posted (5 years 12 months 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 3027 times:

I live half the year in Washington DC where I go to school and the other half in Miami. One of the first things I noticed while in Washington DC is that all traffic lights remain on the whole day. Even at 2am in the downtown area which is empty at that time all the lights remain on and the cars traveling on these roads still need to follow the lights.
Here in Miami at intersections which are not busy 24/7 or are not dangerous intersections with blind spots they will turn the lights to flashing yellow on the main street side (busier street) and flashing red on the intersecting street side from around 12-1am-5-6am. I think its a great idea and it makes driving late at night much easier and enjoyable. When driving on main roads it makes it much quicker since you do not need to stop at 70% of the intersections. I told some friends about this which live in other cities around the US and they never heard of the concept and think its a dangerous idea.
So any other cities around the US and the world do this? Do you agree with the practice? Obviously I love it and think its a great idea.


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56 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineLASOctoberB6 From Japan, joined Nov 2006, 2380 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (5 years 12 months 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 3019 times:

In Las Vegas? No. Not that I'm aware of..

Utica, NY does something similar to what Miami does...



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User currently offlinePlaneWasted From Sweden, joined Jan 2008, 513 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (5 years 12 months 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 3011 times:

I don't see the need. Traffic lights here detect an incoming car at distance and switches to green if there is no other car coming in its way.

[Edited 2008-07-27 00:20:21]

User currently offlineJpax From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 1018 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (5 years 12 months 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 3009 times:

I've never heard of this until now, and I'm a night owl. I've been on the roads between midnight and sunrise some nights and have never see a light turned off anywhere.

It would be nice, though. Sucks waiting at a red light at 3am when there are no other cars around. Generally stop, triple check the intersection, and go at those lights. My luck though, a cop will be hiding out one night...


User currently offlineB747forever From Sweden, joined May 2007, 17051 posts, RR: 10
Reply 4, posted (5 years 12 months 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 2996 times:



Quoting PlaneWasted (Reply 2):
I don't see the need. Traffic lights here detect an incoming car at distance and switches to green if there is no other car coming in its way

 checkmark   checkmark   checkmark 

That is the way it works in Sweden



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User currently offlineLarshjort From Denmark, joined Dec 2007, 1425 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (5 years 12 months 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 2992 times:



Quoting B747forever (Reply 4):
        

That is the way it works in Sweden

And most places in Denmark too.

/Lars



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User currently offlineAndz From South Africa, joined Feb 2004, 8442 posts, RR: 10
Reply 6, posted (5 years 12 months 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 2984 times:
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Here it doesn't really matter, I see so many people running red lights I lose count. Especially at night but during the day too, cars will stop at red, see nothing coming and go. If the intersection is pretty open and you can see all the approach roads then sometimes they don't even slow down. The other morning (4am) I was stopped at a red light and was passed by a minibus doing about 60 km/h.

But to answer the question, in some places the flashing yellow/red combination is used.



After Monday and Tuesday even the calendar says WTF...
User currently offlineACDC8 From Canada, joined Mar 2005, 7642 posts, RR: 36
Reply 7, posted (5 years 12 months 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 2981 times:

Switching traffic lights to flashing red and yellow is quite common in Germany, usually between the hours of 10-11pm and 5-6am. Personally I like the idea, makes driving at night much easier.

The concept is pretty well much unheard of in Canada, but then again, our traffic techniques are decades behind more traffic friendly nations (such as Germany  Wink ).

There are times when there is a power outage and the traffic lights go on back up flashing red in both directions, essentially turning it into a four way stop. Bring out the lawn chair, grab a bag of popcorn and let the entertainment begin! Such a simple thing and drivers here just don't get it.

Quoting FlyMIA (Thread starter):
and think its a dangerous idea.

Of course we do, because we are unable to grasp the idea. Locally, our city council is thinking of adding a second roundabout in town. People are up in arms over the idea because they simply can't grasp the concept that it works more efficiently then a four way stop or traffic light at not so busy intersection.

Quoting PlaneWasted (Reply 2):
I don't see the need. Traffic lights here detect an incoming car at distance and switches to green if there is no other car coming in its way.

Most traffic lights where I live are equipped with a contact underneath the pavement by the stop line. The idea is that when a car drives to the light and stops, the contact senses it and eventually changes the light to green. This is a great idea, it more or less actually prevents traffic from flowing. Its quite possible to drive down one of our main roads hitting every single red light because one car wants to cross.



A Grumpy German Is A Sauerkraut
User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31667 posts, RR: 56
Reply 8, posted (5 years 12 months 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 2970 times:

At nights.....Flashing amber & flashing red is used,indicating....go slow at intersection or stop & proceed at intersection respectively.

regds
MEL



Think of the brighter side!
User currently offlineDavehammer From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2007, 472 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (5 years 12 months 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 2946 times:

No, you just couldn't do it in London, much as sometimes I'd like it happen!

User currently offlineGoldenshield From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 5970 posts, RR: 14
Reply 10, posted (5 years 12 months 2 days ago) and read 2933 times:



Quoting ACDC8 (Reply 7):
Most traffic lights where I live are equipped with a contact underneath the pavement by the stop line.

Not a contact, but an inductor. When your car drives over the inductor, you change the magnetic field of the inductor, and that trips the light.



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User currently offlineJamesbuk From United Kingdom, joined May 2005, 3968 posts, RR: 4
Reply 11, posted (5 years 12 months 2 days ago) and read 2933 times:

We have "part time" traffic lights in places, so they are only operational during the rush hours and other peak traffic periods so these are normally off during the night, but the normal traffic lights dont turn off.

Rgds --James--



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User currently offline777ER From New Zealand, joined Dec 2003, 12082 posts, RR: 18
Reply 12, posted (5 years 12 months 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 2916 times:
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All lights are keeped im here in WLG, as most areas of the CBD are very busy even at 3am and it would only be asking for accident after accident to happen

User currently offlinePlymSpotter From Spain, joined Jun 2004, 11611 posts, RR: 60
Reply 13, posted (5 years 12 months 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 2910 times:



Quoting PlaneWasted (Reply 2):
I don't see the need. Traffic lights here detect an incoming car at distance and switches to green if there is no other car coming in its way.

Flash your lights at them whilst approaching in the UK and they'll change much more quickly, normally you don't even have to slow down let alone stop. Perhaps not wise in cities, but on many roads I use there are lights in the middle of no-where controlling traffic over single lane bridges or narrow sections of road.


Dan  Smile



...love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again...
User currently offlineMyt332 From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2003, 9112 posts, RR: 71
Reply 14, posted (5 years 12 months 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 2901 times:

In one of my local cities, Liverpool, the traffic lights are often turned off thanks to the local scouse community thieving the bulbs for their living rooms.  Wink

Quoting PlymSpotter (Reply 14):
Flash your lights at them whilst approaching in the UK and they'll change much more quickly

Especially do that on the lights that are controlled by pressure pads on the road! Big grin



One Life, Live it.
User currently offlinePlymSpotter From Spain, joined Jun 2004, 11611 posts, RR: 60
Reply 15, posted (5 years 12 months 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 2891 times:



Quoting Myt332 (Reply 15):
Especially do that on the lights that are controlled by pressure pads on the road!

Ahem, this is Cornwall we're talking about, such technology has yes to venture so far South  Wink



...love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again...
User currently offlineLincoln From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 3887 posts, RR: 8
Reply 16, posted (5 years 12 months 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 2876 times:

Cleveland has random lights that are in the flashing mode at seemingly random times during the late night hours--I've yet to figure out the patten...

Quoting PlaneWasted (Reply 2):
Traffic lights here detect an incoming car at distance and switches to green if there is no other car coming in its way.

This is common in Southern California, as well, and works exceptionally well during off-peak hours. There are relatively few such lights on the East side of Cleveland.

I just wish Cleveland would do a better job of timing/setting up lights on the main thoroughfares-- for example there's a set of three lights on Chester (one of the main East/West roads on Cleveland's east side) whrere there is hardly any cross trafic, yet I always wind up having to stop at two of the three-- I've tried driving faster, I've tried driving slower, I've tried driving at exactly the speed limit, but I've never made it through all three without stoping (and of course, all three are on 24x7x365)



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User currently offlinePetertenthije From Netherlands, joined Jul 2001, 3351 posts, RR: 12
Reply 17, posted (5 years 12 months 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 2863 times:

Our traffic lights are also controlled by pressure pads. Still, they are turned of around 11ish for all but the most dangerous/busy intersections. Well, those intersections that have not been replaced with roundabouts that is.


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User currently offlinePlaneWasted From Sweden, joined Jan 2008, 513 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (5 years 12 months 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 2862 times:



Quoting Myt332 (Reply 15):
Especially do that on the lights that are controlled by pressure pads on the road!

I think the ones we have in Sweden reacts on magnetic materials, just like the pick-up for a electric guitar. No moving parts and cheap, sure you don't have similar types?
Sucks when you have a high-tech aluminum or carbon fibre car.  Smile


User currently offlineGuitrThree From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 2040 posts, RR: 8
Reply 19, posted (5 years 12 months 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 2838 times:



Quoting PlaneWasted (Reply 18):
I think the ones we have in Sweden reacts on magnetic materials, just like the pick-up for a electric guitar. No moving parts and cheap, sure you don't have similar types?
Sucks when you have a high-tech aluminum or carbon fibre car.

All that in the road stuff is going away.. new technology is to use "cameras." They have them here in the states.. Now, these aren't the ticket generating ones, the ones I am talking about are usually the long white slender cameras mounted right at the traffic lights. These cameras don't really take any pictures, nor can they really "see" good. They just sense the movement of the cars. However, just like the magnetic sensors in the road, most can't see motorcycles (here in TN, motorcycles CAN run a red light, after stopping completely and looking both ways, because if there are no other cars around, the light will never change).

The "camera" systems biggest advantage is that they aren't prone to the road damage the other systems mounted in the pavement are.

Oh, and to answer the question, many areas in TN do change overnight to Flashing Yellow/Red.

Anyway, new interesting technology.



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User currently offlineAndz From South Africa, joined Feb 2004, 8442 posts, RR: 10
Reply 20, posted (5 years 12 months 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 2835 times:
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Quoting GuitrThree (Reply 19):
here in TN, motorcycles CAN run a red light

They can, or they may? Big difference.



After Monday and Tuesday even the calendar says WTF...
User currently offlineFlexo From St. Helena, joined Mar 2007, 406 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (5 years 12 months 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 2822 times:

Here in Germany many cities turn off the traffic lights at night, mainly to save electricity. They flash towards the direction which has to yield and are completely off towards the "right off way" directions.

However, lately many cities have gone back to leaving the lights on during the night as accident rates seem to go up even at low density traffic intersections.

I'm really amazed that people can't follow simple yield rules at otherwise traffic light controlled intersections. They do it at millions of intersections where there are no traffic lights safely without any problems!


User currently offlineFlyMIA From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 7108 posts, RR: 9
Reply 22, posted (5 years 12 months 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 2787 times:



Quoting ACDC8 (Reply 7):
There are times when there is a power outage and the traffic lights go on back up flashing red in both directions, essentially turning it into a four way stop. Bring out the lawn chair, grab a bag of popcorn and let the entertainment begin! Such a simple thing and drivers here just don't get it.

This reminds of when there is a hurricane in Miami and large areas of the city lose power. So with no power traffic lights and street lights around the whole city are off. Even at the busiest intersections in Miami they all become 4 way stops. Now that is a site to see and not an easy thing to drive thru.



"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
User currently offlineSeb146 From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 11520 posts, RR: 15
Reply 23, posted (5 years 12 months 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 2785 times:



Quoting FlyMIA (Thread starter):
Here in Miami at intersections which are not busy 24/7 or are not dangerous intersections with blind spots they will turn the lights to flashing yellow on the main street side (busier street) and flashing red on the intersecting street side

That is interesting. I would think MIA would have them all working all the time.

The largest cities in Oregon have lights working 24/7: Medford, Portland, and Eugene. I can not think of any lights in the Portland or Medford area that flash. There are lights in Pendleton, Hood River, and The Dalles that flash overnight. My brother lives in Walla Walla. I don't think they flash their lights at night, but some intersections in Milton-Freewater and College Place do.

I don't think Seattle or Tacoma have flashing lights at night, either. Maybe the outer suburbs like North Bend.



Life in the wall is a drag.
User currently offlineLincoln From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 3887 posts, RR: 8
Reply 24, posted (5 years 12 months 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 2781 times:



Quoting FlyMIA (Reply 22):
Even at the busiest intersections in Miami they all become 4 way stops. Now that is a site to see and not an easy thing to drive thru

Legally, they become all*-way stops, but do people actually treat them as all-way stops? Here in Cleveland, I've been nearly rear ended at least 3 times, and honked at plenty more than that for actually coming to a full and complete stop at an intersection where the lights are not in service.

The strategy of the natices here seems to be "Push the gas and pray" in such cases.

I know in the pre-Y2K hysteria a large number of intersections in California got uninterruptable power supplies (UPSes -- generally battery banks) capabile of running intersections "off-grid" for something like 24 hours. In Temecula, where I lived from 1989-2005, I can only think of about 4 power outages in 16 years -- here it seems like there's at leat one a quarter, so I'm kind of suprised that more intersections don't have that feature.

Pop quiz: What do you do when you get to a light that is (solid) Red and (solid) Yellow in all directions? (I.e. whichever side of the intersection you're coming from both the red and yellow lights are illuminated)... I've seen that twice in the past year...

Lincoln
* - Are 5, 6, and 7-way intersections unique to Northeast Ohio? There seem to be plenty of them here, and they're a little terrifying to navigate, even when the lights _are_ working... One example from near my Boss's house:



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25 StarAC17 : I heard if you are driving at night in South Africa and you see a red light you don't stop because of the crime rates.
26 Phoenix9 : Here in Toronto they don't turn them off. But we do have the camera/inductor system which will change the lights depending if there is traffic approac
27 GSOShutout55 : I live in Greensboro, NC and they turn the lights off here too. The same blinking yellow/red as miami.
28 StarAC17 : They have the pads as well in some places, and I believe it is timed during rush hour and at non peak times the busy street will stay geen until the
29 Phoenix9 : I do that all the time and it works for the most part I always thought those were the inductors and not pressure sensitive pads.
30 FLY2HMO : We have a lot of those at PRC and I HATE them. They are extremely slow to react to movement, and when I used to have my VW Type 1 they would NEVER de
31 ShyFlyer : I live in a small town with a grand total of 5 intersections with stop lights. They operate 24/7, though they are being upgraded with LEDs. Now at Kir
32 AverageUser : We used to have flashing yellow at quiet traffic, which I think was helpful especially if you were driving in a strange city. Then came the EU and we
33 Helvknight : Virtually all intersections except the busy ones go to flashing yellow at about 10 or 11 pm here (naturally it depends on the Kanton). The one at the
34 LTU932 : It's also quite common on certain streets in Costa Rica, however some traffic lights have switched to full 24/7 operations.
35 StarAC17 : They probably are but I just called them pads because it is easier.
36 PSA53 : No,they're all 24/7.In Fontana, the city is actually installing more lights.The main reason is construction expansion but also Foothill Bl. is notori
37 Goldenshield : The west side of the city is also out in the booneys. There's a reason why they call it Fontucky.
38 Aero145 : And in various places in Iceland too.
39 GuitrThree : They may. It is the LAW that motorcycles can pass through a red light AFTER STOPPING and visually checking both ways. It in no way lets them blow pas
40 Iowaman : Too bad there isn't any traffic lights in the whole county where I live.
41 Andz : No, unfortunately it is just another facet of the total disregard for the law. What you mention above has been used as an excuse if people are caught
42 Analog : Everywhere that I have lived (wealthy suburban towns, inner cities, and rural areas) the cops act as if solid red lights late at night are flashing f
43 Goldenshield : What about in instances where the light doesn't turn, no matter what you do?
44 Pelican : And here we see how urban myth about the EU are born. I don't think this has anything to do with the EU because flashing yellow lights are very commo
45 NZ107 : What a great idea. I wish they introduced that in Auckland.. Not only would it save power and the light bulbs but also the frustration of sitting at t
46 PHLBOS : In Massachusetts, a red & yellow light on at the same time means STOP for pedestrians crossing. While most of these lights have long since been repla
47 Moose135 : Do they roll up the sidewalks at night there, also? In New York, we leave the lights on all the time. Why is it legal (and safe) for a motorcycle to
48 57AZ : Here in Tucson, we use both motion cameras, red light cameras and magnetic induction loops. At least one intersection with magnetic induction loops i
49 JCS17 : My municipality inside Dallas, from 12AM to 6AM, switches most its lights to flashing red or yellow.
50 FlyMIA : What? It is legal because motorcycles dont always trigger the detection device which would change the light to green on their side of the intersectio
51 United_Fan : In ROC, the last time we were out in a limo for a friend's b-day,we made a short-cut thru a undesireable part of town. The signal lights were on flash
52 Aeroflot777 : Since I drive around at night a lot lately, I've noticed that some lights just start flashing yellow past 11is or midnight. However there really is no
53 StasisLAX : Here in Long Beach, the traffic lights stay turned on 24/7/365. I've never noticed a flashing yellow/red intersection anywhere in Los Angeles County d
54 Lincoln : I could have sworn I've seen them on... ah hell, I was going to say Atlantic, but the one time I can remember them flashing the road was closed, so I
55 Signol : That's normal for (minibus) taxis in ZA From what I've heard, you still have to obey the lights, but if you are approached you are allowed to go thro
56 SkySurfer : Here in Kingston, Ontario there's 3 intersections i know of where the traffic lights flash yellow on one side and red on the other. Usually it's after
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