The traffic light gets a dazzling, 21st century makeover
For all the tech advancements we have seen why are we settling for old stop-lights and traffic signs? At least one design studio has an alternative. Via Fastcompany:
Instead of stacking red, yellow, and green lights on top of one another—with each light’s relative position signaling when it’s time to stop or go for color-blind drivers—the studio developed a stop light that’s one continuous panel. And so that entire panel turns red, yellow, and green.
These stop lights are more than a fantastical idea rendered up in Photoshop. “There are no real obstacles for building those concepts; there are several prototypes on the way for beta-testing,” writes Timur Burbaev, industrial design art director at Art. Lebedev Studio. “Nowadays, LED screen technology gets more affordable and easier to implement each year. We think that traffic lights are just stuck in development, due to some conservative regulations that need to be changed.”
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The reason the current version of traffic light works is that it is only doing one thing. These new proposed variants will actually draw your eye away from traffic to watch some animation on a screen instead of watching traffic. Even someone as color blind as myself, knows, even out of peripheral vision, the status of the intersection. Having to stare at a screen to determine intersection status will now require more “processing” and distraction from the road. Now, if you moved this process to a HUD within the vehicle, then maybe you are on to something. This brings the display down to the eye level of the traffic. But even this could be problematic for those that have depth of field issues where the HUD could still distract from the traffic ahead.
Stacked lighting allows for more reliability (if a bulb goes out, the status of the light can be inferred from the state of the other bulbs) and cheaper / simpler repairability (you can replace only the broken light), and allows for colorblind use (the relative position of the light lets you know what you should be doing even if red and green look identical to you). These features are lost with any ‘combined light’ solution like this.