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1337Delta764
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Tollbooth Lane Indicators - Ball Lights Vs Symbols

Wed Oct 31, 2012 5:42 am

In the United States, traditionally most toll plazas used regular red/green ball lights for indicating if a lane is open or not. However, under the current MUTCD standard, the symbolic indicators (red X and green arrow) are recommended, since the use of the red/green ball lights are contrary to their traditional meanings of stop and go.

So, does anyone know of any examples of toll plazas that still use the red/green ball lights? I know one example are the toll plazas on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, which surprisingly were not upgraded when the plazas were renovated in the late 1990s.

The toll plazas on the Autopistas in Puerto Rico were upgraded with the symbolic signs in 1996. The toll plaza on the Teodoro Moscoso Bridge in San Juan retained the ball lights longer, however, they may have since been upgraded when AutoExpreso was implemented (since the AutoExpreso lanes use a special indicator with both the red X/green arrow and a green AutoExpreso logo next to it); I haven't been on the Teodoro Moscoso Bridge in several years.
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AF1624
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RE: Tollbooth Lane Indicators - Ball Lights Vs Symbols

Wed Oct 31, 2012 9:35 am

For what it's worth, I can only comment about France, and say that our logos and symbols are too confusing, depending on the toll you're going through, that is because you have:

- Lanes with an automatic payment system that you can go through without stopping if you are equipped
- Lanes with an automatic payment system that you can go through but you have to stop like at a stop sign
- Lanes with the same automatic payment system but that also allow people who are not equipped to pay by credit card when they stop
- Lanes without the automatic payment system that only allow credit card payment FOR CARS only
- Lanes without the automatic payment system that only allow credit card payment FOR TRUCKS only
- Lanes without the automatic payment system that only allow credit card payment FOR BIKES only (but that one is clearly visible, all the way to the right, and it's only half-width
- Lanes handled by a cashier

And so on.

So they had to invent signs for all of these kinds of lanes and it does get extremely confusing ! And to add insult to injury, sometimes the electronic signs aren't updated so you get to a lane expecting to pay with cash and you realise it only takes credit cards. Or you're on your bike and you think you'll get a cashier to pay the bike fee only to realise the cabin is closed, you have to pay by credit card, and so because the system can't know the difference, you have to pay the car fee instead of the bike fee.

*sigh*
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AviRaider
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RE: Tollbooth Lane Indicators - Ball Lights Vs Symbols

Wed Oct 31, 2012 1:52 pm

Quoting 1337Delta764 (Thread starter):
the symbolic indicators (red X and green arrow) are recommended, since the use of the red/green ball lights are contrary to their traditional meanings of stop and go.

Can you explain this further because to me, both reds mean stop and both greens mean go. I'm just confused on how the old ball lights can be contrary to their traditional meanings. Thanks.
 
PHLBOS
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RE: Tollbooth Lane Indicators - Ball Lights Vs Symbols

Wed Oct 31, 2012 8:54 pm

Quoting 1337Delta764 (Thread starter):
So, does anyone know of any examples of toll plazas that still use the red/green ball lights?

Just about every toll road/bridge/tunnel in the Northeast still uses ball (horizontal traffic signals) for toll lane indicators. It's also worth noting that flashing yellow 'ball' signals are used for EZPass lanes.

The only times I've seen the red X and green/yellow down-arrows is along variable-travel lanes along toll bridges (NY's Tappan Zee and the DRPA (Betsy Ross/Ben Franklin/Walt Whitman/Commodore Barry linking PA & NJ) being several examples).

Most of the above-examples were set up prior to the 2009 MUTCD standard being fully adopted.
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1337Delta764
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RE: Tollbooth Lane Indicators - Ball Lights Vs Symbols

Wed Oct 31, 2012 11:45 pm

Quoting AviRaider (Reply 2):
Can you explain this further because to me, both reds mean stop and both greens mean go. I'm just confused on how the old ball lights can be contrary to their traditional meanings. Thanks.

Well, on a tollbooth, a red ball light doesn't mean stop; it means the lane is closed. At the same time, a green ball light doesn't indicate go (as you still have to stop unless you have an electronic toll collection transponder). The symbols are less ambiguous.

Quoting PHLBOS (Reply 3):
Most of the above-examples were set up prior to the 2009 MUTCD standard being fully adopted.

As I said in my OP, Puerto Rico has been using the symbols since 1996 on the toll plazas on the Autopistas (PR-5/20/22/52/53/66). The Teodoro Moscoso Bridge toll plaza continued to use the ball lights after the Autopistas switched, however, they may have changed them out since the implementation of AutoExpreso.
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RE: Tollbooth Lane Indicators - Ball Lights Vs Symbols

Thu Nov 01, 2012 12:48 am

Quoting 1337Delta764 (Thread starter):

So, does anyone know of any examples of toll plazas that still use the red/green ball lights? I know one example are the toll plazas on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, which surprisingly were not upgraded when the plazas were renovated in the late 1990s.

I don't think the SF Bay Bridge toll plaza is converted.
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Alias1024
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RE: Tollbooth Lane Indicators - Ball Lights Vs Symbols

Thu Nov 01, 2012 12:30 pm

The Golden Gate Bridge has green arrow and red x symbols. Electronic signs indicate whether the lane is FasTrak only or both cash and FasTrak. There are also large FasTrak symbols on signs on top of the plaza for the FasTrak only lanes.
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RE: Tollbooth Lane Indicators - Ball Lights Vs Symbols

Thu Nov 01, 2012 1:37 pm

Here in Ilinois we use the red X's and green arrows as well as yellow ball lights for telling people that theres a toll ahead and to notice the difference between cash and electronic tolling.

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PHLBOS
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RE: Tollbooth Lane Indicators - Ball Lights Vs Symbols

Thu Nov 01, 2012 6:48 pm

Quoting 1337Delta764 (Reply 4):
Quoting PHLBOS (Reply 3):
Most of the above-examples were set up prior to the 2009 MUTCD standard being fully adopted.

As I said in my OP, Puerto Rico has been using the symbols since 1996 on the toll plazas on the Autopistas (PR-5/20/22/52/53/66). The Teodoro Moscoso Bridge toll plaza continued to use the ball lights after the Autopistas switched, however, they may have changed them out since the implementation of AutoExpreso.

From your original post, bold emphasis added:

Quoting 1337Delta764 (Thread starter):
However, under the current MUTCD standard, the symbolic indicators (red X and green arrow) are recommended, since the use of the red/green ball lights are contrary to their traditional meanings of stop and go.

While the option to use the red X and green arrow existed for some time, previous versions of MUTCD (2003 being the last prior to the current 2009 edition) did not flat out discourage the use of traditional traffic signals at tollbooth lanes. It may have been listed as an either-or option in older MUTCDs (not 100% sure) or not even covered.

Some states or territories may experiment with a different traffic control device and if it's proven to be more effective. Your above-PR example is likely one of them.

Another example is many of DOTs (PennDOT, DelDOT, MDOT, VDOT) using items not (yet) listed in the MUTCD is the use of the Clearview font on many of their guidance signage. While its nowhere listed in the MUTCD, many state DOTs are using this (ugly IMHO) font.
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