Beyond the triple circle: Design alternatives for traffic lights


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Especially in Los Angeles gridlock, a lot of drivers are sick of staring at the trio of circles that make up the average traffic light.

Wonder what they’ll think of a new crop of designs showcased on the Yanko Design website that tinkers with the shape, the light and even the power source behind the standard red, yellow and green.


The Sand Glass (right), from Thanva Tivawong, incorporates LED lights that appear to trickle from the top half of the display into the bottom while, for example, green becomes yellow and then red.

Similarly, Roberto Vackflores’ Control Safety Traffic Light Concept uses an LED panel that gradually shifts from color to color. The light, which would be powered by solar panels with a security camera attached, would be able to sense oncoming emergency vehicles.

Drivers waiting for the light to change could also be treated to a display of weather and road conditions.

Road signs that call attention to crossings and speed limits could get similar treatment, with programmable lights that would show up through fog or heavy rain, according to designs from Alexey Chugunnikov (left).

Color-blind drivers might appreciate the Uni-Signal idea (below) from Ji-youn Kim, Soon-young Yang and Hwan-ju Jeon. Traffic lights would have different shapes to correspond to actions -- a triangle denoting “stop,” a circle signaling “stay” and a rectangle for ‘go.”



‘Smart’ traffic lights could remotely stop vehicle engines -- IBM patent application

Red light, green light, go?

-- Tiffany Hsu