Q&A - All Traffic Lights Red at the Same Time

Q&A ImageSometime around 15 to 20 years ago I remember reading in one of the Courtenay newspapers, someone from the City of Courtenay saying that they were changing the timing of the lights in intersections from (possibly) a half second to a full second – meaning all the lights would be red for this amount of time. If this is now a standard in BC, is there any evidence that the goal was achieved, which I guess is fewer accidents caused by people who proceed through on a late yellow light? Or has this delay been taken advantage of by feeling more confident knowing there is more time to get through the intersection?

Comments

Answer

You are talking about the red light clearance interval or overlap.

All traffic signals have one and there are lots of design rules around implementing them. BC has design standards concerning what is appropriate and I don't doubt that the municipalities follow them.

For more information:

Although I am opposed to Speed Cameras ...

... I would like to see cameras on every traffic light in the province; there just isn't any excuse other than brake failure for any driver to enter an intersection after the light has turned red.

And if this was done, creating a revenue stream as it would, do you know how they should spend that money?  Well, I'll tell ya.  If you look around the province, you'll see many traffic lights with a green arrow phase that allows drivers a period to turn left without conflict from pedestrians or oncoming traffic.  Great idea, it moves traffic and reduces collisions.  But what they need to do on all of these is to create a reciprocal right turn arrow phase for vehicles making the opposite maneuver (instead of turning east from the southbound street, they would be turning north from the westbound street, for instance).  After all, those drivers don't have any pedestrian or vehicle conflicts, either.

There's no reason this couldn't be done, and it would move more traffic.  It would also end the situation of making right-turning drivers stop for a red light for absolutely no reason, which is really stupid when you think about it.

Sorry if this moves the subject off-topic, it's just something I've had in mind for a while now.

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