Ooh! And Let’s Have Traffic Agents Wave Checkered Flags

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Via our friends at Yanko Design, which last year brought us the virtual crosswalk wall, here’s a horrible idea that’s getting a lot of online exposure: the red light countdown. In case there might be a few drivers out there who don’t already view the street grid as their personal grand prix course, this Serbian-designed signal ticks off the final seconds of the red cycle. We can practically hear the engines revving.

Touted as an eco-friendly device to allow stopped drivers to shut their motors, in the States this would serve more as an automated inducement for "t-bone" collisions. Still, most blogs we’ve looked at are raving about it. Wired also points out a couple of possible benefits for cyclists (you’ll know your bike did in fact trip the light sensor) and pedestrians (should you find yourself in the crosswalk, you’ll know how long you have left to live). Discussing the concept back in 2005 on WhyNot.net, one Brooklynite envisioned another plus:

In NYC, we could also use a red light timer, so that people could start
honking at the car in front of them several seconds before the light turns
green, rather than waiting for it to actually turn green.

Similar red-to-green countdowns are reportedly common in areas of China and Brazil, though we couldn’t find pictures. Here’s hoping they don’t make their way to the U.S. Really, why not just install these instead?

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