Countdown to Less Traffic

Traffic lights are integral to the proper functioning of any urban transportation system. A necessary evil, they reduce the number of accidents and aim to increase throughput, yet they are a source of frustration for drivers.

One of these frustrations is being caught at a set of lights without any idea of how long they will take to change in favour of the driver.

A push by the National Road Users Association for visible countdown timers on traffic lights hopes to see better throughput and safer driving conditions for all.

“Our simulations show that by giving the driver an indication of when lights will change, rather than springing a cycle upon them, the driver’s reaction time is improved by upwards of 30%, which results in more cars through an intersection per cycle, improving the overall efficiency,” says Michelle Terry, NRUA founder, “We also expect fewer gridlocks, since drivers won’t thrust themselves into a blocked intersection if they can see that the lights are about to change.”

Schemes tested include placing illuminated signs above the signals.

“Displaying numbers works well in simulations, however we are also trialing colour, positional and rate-of-flash (ROF) sequences, in case numbers are too hard to see under particular driving conditions.”

There is no official date for a rollout of any proposed changes.ChesterLogoSmall

Wormhole blamed for Disappearance

A rift in the space-time continuum has been cited as the ‘most likely’ reason Professor James DuClair of Michigan is no longer contactable.

“It’s completely out of character for him to just go wandering off. There’s nothing to suggest foul play, nothing to suppose he might be in hiding,” says a colleague, who refused to be named, “If you know Jay, you know that the only thing that could stop him from coming into work is if he got swallowed up.”

The only evidence to his whereabouts lies in his laboratory, where his notes, equipment and even his desk have vanished. Strangely, CCTV footage shows Professor DuClair entering the premises, but not leaving.

“He couldn’t have moved all of this by himself, and there’s always someone here, so they would have seen something,” says the colleague, “The killer thing is that his research is gone. In a way, it kind of explains what happened.”

When asked about his line of research, we were denied any details, informed only that Professor DuClair was working on ‘Trans-Dimensionsal Propagation of Photons’.ChesterLogoSmall