At first, I was planning to write today's column about electric cars. But then I got about halfway through it, and I made an important realization: nobody cares about electric cars. So instead, I'm going to cover another highly important issue affecting our society: minor traffic annoyances.
While we're waiting for certain German scientists to perfect adaptive traffic lights, other German scientists at Audi came up with traffic light networking which tells you exactly how much speed you need for an endless green wave.
It's safe to say most of us have a love/hate relationship with traffic lights: we love how they make traffic manageable on a large scale, and we hate their stupid, red-faced arrogance as they demand we stop and go just because they say so. We don't usually think of them as dangerous. But the very first one sure was.
You might not realize it when you've been trapped behind the same red light for five minutes, but traffic lights, when they're timed and tuned correctly, are actually pretty good at making traffic move. Really.
It is rather fitting for Ulaanbaatar, the modern-day capital of the country which was once the largest contiguous land empire in the history of the world, to have traffic lights which depict horsemen. After all, the Mongol Empire was built on the back of a fast-moving equestrian army, and modern Mongolia, with less…
Ever wondered whether a suspiciously long (or short) traffic signal change, combined with a police cruiser hiding nearby, was an attempt to boost tickets? Could police be changing signal timing? In theory, sure. In reality, not so much. Here's why.
In Johannesburg, South Africa, some thieves have found that there's an even cheaper and more anonymous way to make phone calls than buying disposable "burners" (like those featuring so prominently in The Wire): Traffic lights.
A system of traffic lights designed to optimize flow during average conditions never works perfectly because the "average" never happens. So Researchers in Dresden, Germany are working on smarter sensors that react to actual, not estimated, traffic flow.
Our traffic lights use nothing but color to convey information. A trio of South Korean designers aim to fix that by augmenting the standard traffic light with shapes.
A patent application filed by IBM engineers reveals the company's developing technology that will allow governments to shut down the engines of private automobiles via traffic signals. It's like Skynet... only much worse.
The inherent inefficiency of the three-light traffic signal is clearly demonstrated in this proposal for a two-light LED system, which produces the same three colors in one enclosure by combining red and green. Unfortunately, it still can't melt snow.
New-fangled LED traffic lights last longer, pierce the darkness more effectively and consume 90% less energy than incandescent bulbs. That's also their drawback. They're not hot enough to melt snow that sticks to their lenses, causing dozens of accidents.
Belgrade-based designer Damjan Stanković has developed a concept for a red light which tells you quite intuitively the amount of time remaining until you can blast off the line.
We encounter traffic signals daily and though they might annoy us
daily at times, we definitely take ours for granted. Take a peak at these 15 crazy traffic signals and let us know if you still have the same complaints.