Izmir is the third largest city in Turkey, with a population of 3 million people. Like any other big city, traffic is a problem and safety at intersections is of critical importance.
Recently, traffic controllers have implemented an innovative solution to improve traffic light visibility.
This footage was shared by user Sunburst34 on Reddit, showing the poles themselves glowing in the color of the traffic signal. It’s like a gate of light, guarding the intersection – very cool and very futuristic.
Taking a ride through the city (on Google Street View) reveals it’s a very simple solution – LED strips, mounted on the existing poles, connected to the traffic control system.
Improving traffic safety
Beyond looking cool (which they do), these traffic lights are an interesting approach to improving visibility. You don’t really think about this until you’re stuck behind a large truck, blocking the light.
In fact, there is a whole science around setting up a junction. There need to be several poles and lights so they are always visible to all drivers at various distances and speeds
The existing traffic light poles are sufficiently large and there is no chance you’d miss them, regardless of which lane you are using and at what speed you’re traveling.
Having such a large source of light dominate your peripheral vision will definitely improve attention to traffic signals.
The pros and cons of light-up traffic poles
Some users noted that the crossroads in the video already have sufficient lighting and the LED poles are taking it too far.
On the other hand, energy overconsumption and light pollution are definitely two big problems in modern cities.
This idea can actually reduce the amount of traffic control equipment needed for a single junction. However, the system is obviously in a test phase, so they can’t remove the other lights unless they’re sure this is a better solution.
The energy consumption can easily be offset by solar panels, which can also provide shade during the day, making the lights more noticeable, as well as blocking out the light for traffic on the other side, which may receive conflicting signals.
Going full-on Tokyo cyberpunk
Japanese motion graphic designer – Takayuki Yoshida – went five steps further and imagined how holographic display technology can revolutionize the traffic lights.
— ヨシダタカユキ (@__Stew__) June 9, 2019
Yes, it will fit right at home in cyberpunk classics like Ghost in the Shell or Blade Runner. However, it’s a little overdressed for a practical application, with the “eyes of crime prevention” overloading our anime otaku meters.
That said, if holograms can raise 2Pac from the dead, they can certainly do something for traffic lights too.
BMW is already using holographic displays and gesture control in its cars and other manufacturers will soon follow up, so the technology may already be available.