London is testing out traffic lights that prioritize humans over cars

Originally published at: London is testing out traffic lights that prioritize humans over cars | Boing Boing

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Kudos Sadiq!

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More of this everywhere, please.

The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing humans to structure their entire societies and transportation systems around two-ton motor vehicles that run on fossil fuels, while also being expensive to buy and maintain

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Interesting positive humanist vibe to wake up to. Thanks Thomas Dunn.

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If I’m not mistaken, most crosswalk buttons don’t even allow that - they’re essentially placebos meant to pacify pedestrians, the lights are all on timers anyway. At least where I live, pressing the button makes zero difference - in limited cases it may cause the walk symbol to be displayed when the lights change instead of the “don’t walk” symbol.

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“The light changes to red only when the sensor detects an approaching vehicle.”

This will work wonderfully in many locations.

But there are many locations where there is almost never not an approaching vehicle. I assume they will have a timer and/or button if they ever try this in such locations.

There’s a traffic light I come across in France which I swear is always red and stays so until you come to a stop, UNLESS you approach it at less than about 40kph, in which case it turns green when you are at a sufficient distance from it not to have to touch your brakes. Needs to be more widespread.

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The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled

I have it on good authority (the militant theocratic conservatives of the United States) that the gas guzzling automobile is a gift from God, not Lucifer. Given the body count of the bible, it checks out.

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Man, it’s embarrassing that this broke my brain a bit to understand what they were doing.

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This is great in principle, and I support the concept. My main concern is with an issue that I frequently experience when riding my scooter around town: many of the inductive loop sensors in the road can’t detect my little scooter and won’t change the light for me until a car comes along and triggers the sensor with its larger bulk. If that was the case at every single intersection with all traffic lights being red by default, it would make my scooter rides especially difficult.

I’m also frustrated that the linked article doesn’t mention bicycles at all. Do they get treated as pedestrians at these intersections, or as cars?

Edit: maybe I ought to just get a couple of these for my scooter and bike:

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And by vehicle, do they mean a car or larger?

Because the people on bicycles, e-bikes, scooters, motorcycles, etc, might have a few words about that. (Especially the ones that are licenced and plated for road use.)

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Love this idea. Often I’ve thought “why” while waiting at a crossing that would take forever to change while standing in the pouring rain or freezing cold or blistering heat. People in cars can wait a little longer. The impact of a shitty traffic light system to people walking in the streets is much larger.

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This is so beautiful.

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There is a bike trail going through Tempe Arizona that has the pedestrian/bike prioritized. First time I took it I was stunned. It makes the trek across town on bike much faster, safer and pleasant.

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Fucking Hoover

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Depends on where exactly you are.

Most such buttons in NYC are placebos or date to a different era of road planning and are no longer connected to anything, but it’s not universal.

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I spent a week in London a few years back. The pedestrian experience in the down town was scary. Very short “walk now” signals. Complex intersections.

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Where I live, the lights are on timers, but the pedestrian crossing buttons definitely work. I know because if no one pushes it, it never goes to “walk.” It’s basically the opposite of this post: the default is to assume there aren’t any pedestrians ever.
It has this odd effect of making pushing the button to cross safely feel like a selfish act. All the cars stop and everyone sits and watches you cross the road, knowing you are the reason they had to stop. :joy:

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Up the humans!

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Finally! Humans >>> motor vehicles.

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At some signalized intersections where I walk, if a pedestrian doesn’t push the beg-button, there’s never a walk signal.

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