• Dec 3rd 2009 at 5:40PM
  • 58
Eko stop light - Click above for image gallery

We've got the stoplights in our neighborhood timed pretty well, but it's pretty painful when you're at a foreign intersection and have absolutely no idea when the light will turn green. We shift our vehicle into Neutral and give our left foot a break at a stoplight that we know is long, but at uncharted lights, we occasionally keep our clutch foot to the floor.

One designer by the name of Damjan Stankovic decided we should wait no longer, so he designed an innovative-looking "Eko" stoplight that offers an easy to read indicator that shows how much time the light has until it turns green. The idea has some merit. If you want to conserve fuel and reduce CO2 emissions, you could turn off your engine during truly long lights. (We wouldn't, but you could). If drivers were able to see the light from far away, they could also let off the accelerator early and save a little strain on the brakes. We can think of one big issue, though: drivers trying to time the turn from red to green.

What do you think? Would a red light timer be a good thing, or would it be a recipe for disaster? Give us your take in 'Comments.' Thanks for the tips, Spyros and Jared!

[Source: Yanko Design]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      I don't think that this is a good idea, I know that in Europe all lights are read until a car starts to approach and then they will turn green. This prevents the problem in an intersection where the other light has the turn red, and then the side roads light turn green. Which will help gas milage if that is what they are trying to do with these new stop lights.
      • 5 Years Ago
      It would be good. It is something that has been sorely lacking from American roads.

      However, is it really necessary? We could simply implement the system used in other countries, such as lighting up the yellow (along with the red) when the red is about to turn green.

      Of course, in our slushie culture, I suppose it isn't as necessary/useful. As a third pedal-er myself, though, I have usually learned to look at the lights from the other sides of the intersection so that I'm ready 99% of the time before my light turns green. Intersection patterns generally are fairly simple. It just gets wonky with very large intersections, especially those with odd, non cross patterns or with more than four sides (or complicated sets of turn lanes) to manage. It's difficult to tell there, especially if you can't see the lights of the other sides.
        • 5 Years Ago
        We in Pakistan have had countdown lights for a few years now. They tell u how long before light turns green (in seconds) and then how long before green turns to red. The treatment of yellow light with respect to the timer isnt uniform across the board. Some timers are set to reach Zero when the light turns yellow, others are set to reach zero when yellow turns to green (or red).

        I dont agree with people who are concerned about stoplights being turned into drag strips with these timers because they have been around a few years now. At an intersection that you are familiar with, you already know which side of the intersection is going to turn green next. if u are at a red light, the timer is like, a glimmer of hope :) you can see your wait is about to be over in 10...9...8...7...6...5..

        And the timer for how long before green turns to red is even more useful. If you are approaching an intersection that has a green light, you may want to gun it and get through before it turns red. Except the lights might suddenly change and you would have to slam on the brakes to avoid a crash. With the timer, you know how long you have and work out whether or not you can make it before you decide to bury the gas pedal.

        All in all, in my experience, i've found these countdown timers to be a useful innovation.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Um, I saw traffic lights just like this when I was in Egypt.
      • 5 Years Ago
      ieko - "... I just don't see how this could make things better when the people who this is supposed to help weren't likely paying attention to begin with..."

      • 5 Years Ago
      Just what we don't need.

      There are enough drivers that rush across the lights when they should be stopping trying and failing to beat the Red. The only reason there are not more crashes caused by these idiots is most of the drivers that are waiting for the green are so inattentive, busy on the phone, putting on make up etc that they don't move off straight away. Either that or they have driffted so far over the line that they cant see the light anyway.

      These systems work elsewhere because in other countries people for the most part know how to drive. Here the standard of driving sucks so this would be a disaster.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The solution is simple--When the cross traffic light goes red, delay the intersecting green light for a second or so. Yes, both lights would be red for a second, but the lights around here often already do this as a safety feature. It works, and the countdown timer would allow folks like me (with a stick shift) to get it in gear and go when the light actually goes green.

        More information for the driver=a good thing, at least in this case.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is awesome.
        • 5 Years Ago
        ooops, wanted to post this to you but it went on a different place. here it is anyway, sorry for the double commenting:

        for over 7 years most of the traffic lights in Europe have a big timer in seconds beneath the 3 Lights, counting the seconds till the green light besides the fact that there is a yellow light before the Green ..... I am certain this light is more expensive than a simple LED timer ...

        The timer replaced a BLUE light which signaled to turn your engine off while waiting ...
      • 5 Years Ago
      I don't think it's such a bad idea to have it on red lights.

      I find myself letting off the gas when I see a red light at a nearby intersection. It helps save your brake pads if you can time it in such a way that by the time you reach the intersection, it's green. Not to mention, it may change distracted driving habits as well. I can't remember how many times I have seen many other drivers do many other things in their car while waiting for the red to turn green. If the driver knows that there isn't much time to wait until it turns green, they probably won't be distracted and holding up the cars behind them.

      Having the timer on green isn't such a bad idea either. It would help with braking habits and heavy foot syndrome.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think it is a great idea and should be used for green as well.
      (In most areas in America, running a yellow light is a ticket too.)

      As for watching cross-lights and pedestrian signals, that doesn't work here in North Carolina. We have dedicated left turn signals that don't always sync up with the thru lights. And they vary based upon traffic levels. So watching the other lights doesn't help.

      As for the drag racing comments - a simple delay of red for all directions will reduce the likelyhood of a crash. The drivers that are going to drag race are going to drag race regardless of the technology.
      • 5 Years Ago
      In India, we've countdown timers in yellow above these lights. More convenient than this concept, most arguably. Mohan
      • 5 Years Ago
      These lights already exist, with numbers. Commonly found in parts of asia, can be combined with a European RED+ORANGE>GREEN>ORANGE>RED cycle as well.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The foot on the clutch thing is pointless, most cars are automatics, if you are such a wuss that you can't keep your foot on the clutch, sell your sports car and buy a minivan.

      I think the surprise of a green light in the system as is, helps clear the intersection.
      Better reaction to a green light will only put people in harms way of people trying to beat red lights quicker.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "The foot on the clutch thing is pointless, most cars are automatics"

      • 5 Years Ago
      They already do this all over China. Great idea as a) you don't get annoyed wondering how long you are going to have to wait b) great for the ladies so they know how long they have to apply lipstick etc c) Green light Grand Prix starter (not that anybody would condone them being used for this purpose)
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