To stop or not to stop? How about a yellow light optimized at you?

By | September 12, 2012
This is certainly an interesting proposal: change the length of the yellow light so that when you approach the intersection, the light length is adjusted to be what you can safely clear the intersection in, depending on age, speed, and previous attempts to clear the light. And yes that does mean collecting data on driver's behaviour… without them necessarily noticing. The goal, reducing road accidents, would be nice, though – helping drivers better judge if they can clear the intersection in time before the light turns red. On the other hand, it may lead to interesting behaviours as drivers get used to 'their' light length – perhaps disconcerting having to mentally adjust between light length schemes in a single deployment scenario, and changing their behaviour in a mass deployment scenario.

Length of yellow caution traffic lights could prevent accidents: study
A couple of years ago, Hesham Rakha misjudged a yellow traffic light and entered an intersection just as the light turned red. A police officer handed him a ticket.

5 thoughts on “To stop or not to stop? How about a yellow light optimized at you?

  1. Jake Weisz

    Honestly, the lights that some fancy places have, that count down the time till red: More than enough. People can judge how long it takes to stop just fine, the problem is that yellow lights don't have a consistent length.

  2. Scott Metter

    How about instead of being personalized, which I find to be far too intrusive, it can be responsive to the situation? If it sees that the person is slowing down it can change to red as normal otherwise it could extend the yellow to allow someone ample time to make it through. Douglas, it isn't always an issue of understanding, sometimes it would actually be less safe to try to stop at a yellow light than try to make it through.

  3. Douglas Creamer

    I think this would be a non issue if most people understood that yellow actuality means STOP, unless it is unsafe to do so. Not "hurry up before it turns red", or "slam on the breaks because I think there is a red light camera".


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