Yellow light sensors help with 'dilemma zones'

| 12/30/2005

An experimental new traffic system being tested in Arizona could eliminate forever the dreaded “point of no return” – and the accidents that often accompany it.

Officials in Scottsdale, AZ, have installed special sensors in “dilemma zones” along sections of North Pima Road. The device is capable of delaying a green light from turning yellow if it senses a car in that troublesome area just in front of the traffic light, according to The Arizona Republic.

With the sensor installed, vehicles that are too close to the light for them to come to a complete stop will be able to continue forward, and the light won’t change color until the vehicle is past. That way, there’s no chance of a car slamming on its brakes or running a red light, which can cause rear-end and side collisions.

The device is not designed to work at busy intersections, where constantly moving traffic would effectively stop the light from ever changing color.

“We’d certainly consider using it at other locations (in north Scottsdale),” Bruce Dressel, a transportation systems analyst for the city, told The Republic.

Each device and its installation costs about $3,000, which is significantly less than similar devices being tested elsewhere, according to the manufacturer’s Web site.