All posts by presencebuilders

The Future of Traffic Signals

It’s a mad, mad world out there on the roads. Congestion is climbing along with the number of cars. Signs and intersections can be confusing. And bicycle commuting is up all over.

New kinds of traffic signs and signals can help keep it all flowing. Here are some notable innovations.

A turn for bicycles

The Dutch city of Groningen has bikes-only lights at busy intersections, in addition to conventional signals for motor vehicles. When green, the bike signals allow cyclists to proceed in any direction, even diagonally, without having to compete with or yield to cars—particularly useful for those time-consuming left turns. (The writing on the sign below the bike symbol, “tegelijk groen,” means “green together” in Dutch.)

Accident prevention

As bikes become more common, one growing hazard is cars that make right turns and collide with cyclists who are going straight. Portland, Ore., installed a one-of-a-kind active warning sign last fall, requiring drivers turning right at a busy intersection to look over their shoulders and yield to cyclists passing through in the bike lane. The sign, triggered by a sensor, flashes only when a bike is approaching.

After you

A visual hybrid of a yield and a stop sign, this sign—invented by venture capitalist Gary Lauder but not in use yet—is meant to be placed at the intersection of a major and minor road, where major-road drivers are often forced to make unnecessary stops when nobody is around. In the event that a minor-road driver is waiting to turn: Be civil and let him in. If no one is there, keep driving—saving time and gas.

Animated pedestrian signals

On certain pedestrian signals in Mexico, a little green man pops up below a countdown timer, letting walkers know they can cross the street. The man is also animated: As the clock counts down to red, he moves progressively faster, hurrying his way from a casual stride to an all-out sprint—perhaps implying that you should do the same.

The waiting game

Cyclists coming to a red light in the absence of waiting vehicles don’t know whether they’ve triggered the sensor in the pavement that will turn the light green. In Portland, blue LED indicator lights installed at the start of this summer let cyclists know that the sensor has detected their presence and the signal will turn green soon.

An indicator for every lane

No working models yet exist of this three-arrow LED traffic device, designed to replace the standard circular traffic lights in place at most intersections. Patented by Benjamin Glover, a traffic manager for DeKalb County, Ga., the apparatus layers red, yellow and green arrows in single units, with each unit corresponding to a specific lane, which he believes will be less confusing than conventional signals.

The vehicle network

The U.S. Department of Transportation is in the process of developing what it calls connected-vehicle technology. Though still in its pilot stage, the wireless innovation would allow drivers to receive real-time traffic warnings—for instance, that a car 200 yards ahead is braking or that road work is being done—on a screen in their automobile.

Article provided by The Wall Street Journal

ELTEC is a world class provider of engineered traffic systems and solar powered solutions with an emphasis on programmable timing products and pedestrian safety. For more information or a quote contact us at : Phone: 800.227.1745;  Email sales@elteccorp.com or contact your local ELTEC Dealer www.ELTECCORP.com.

New RRFB WW+S Flash Pattern (IMSA Jan/Feb ’15)

By Susan Marshall Electrotechnics Corporation (ELTEC)

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On July 25, 2014 the FHWA approved a “new and improved” flash pattern for RRFB (Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons) uncon-trolled pedestrian crossings. The new flash pattern is based on a flash cycle length of 800 milliseconds (ms) equaling 75 flash cycles per minute. It’s referenced as “WW+S” (Wig-Wag plus Simultaneous). The sequence is:

  • Left beacon ON 50 ms Both beacons OFF 50 ms
  • Right beacon ON 50 ms Both beacons OFF 50 ms
  • Left beacon ON 50 ms Both beacons OFF 50 ms
  • Right beacon ON 50 ms Both beacons OFF 50 ms
  • Both beacons ON 50 ms Both beacons OFF 50 ms
  • Both beacons ON 50 ms Both beacons OFF 250 ms

The interpretation was issued after the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) tested several flash patterns for their effectiveness. Two patterns were found to be equally effective, but to keep some “uniformity” the “simpler” WW+S flash sequence was approved. Additionally, the WW+S was chosen “because it has a greater percentage of dark time when both beacons of the RRFB are off and because the beacons are on for less total time.”

The FHWA continued “The greater percentage of dark time is important because this will make it easier for drivers to read the sign and to see the waiting pedestrian, especially under nighttime conditions.”

Any newly installed RRFB pedestrian crossings may use either the currently approved flash pattern (2/4-1) or the WW+S. Existing RRFB systems may continue to use the installed flash pattern, or can be converted to the WW+S flash pattern.

For more information on the published TTI study go to: TTI Website. Clarification of interpretations can be found here at MUTCD link.

Why Did The Horse Cross The Road (IMSA March-April ’15)

Image_001Because it could and do so safely now; both horse and rider. It sounds like an old joke, but with ELTEC’s focus on specific customer needs, system design helps to keep a precious horse (many valued over $250,000) safe and traffic moving.

From November to May, several communities in Florida become “horse country”; 1000’s or more from around the world winter there. Several communities are “horse focused.” Ancillary businesses thrive in this sector. A McDonald’s has a corral to “park” horses, and has a separate “drive-up window” exclusively for those on horseback.

A Florida community once “trail territory” is now spotted with developments. Riders are leery when a trail crosses a road. In Wellington, Florida ELTEC’s pedestrian crossing system was customized to serve both riders and pedestrians. The horse/ pedestrian crossing includes two sets of push buttons; one at 72-inches allowing the rider to activate the system without dismounting; one at 36-inches for pedestrians and a dismounted rider.

The road is a T configuration. When activated, drivers turning right at the top of the T, do not intersect the horse/pedestrian crossing. But drivers turning left, turn into the crossing, but aren’t able to see the signals on the main road. To ensure a motorist does not turn into a horse and rider or pedestrian, a left turn flashing red arrow alerts the driver to stop before proceeding.

In Loxahatchee, ELTEC’s customized “horse and rider” caution system warns drivers 300 feet before the street is shared with the car. Again the system has the two pedestrian push buttons at different heights. When activated, it flashes for an extended period giving ample time for the horse and rider to clear the 600 foot section of shared roadway.

Discuss your unique safety needs with ELTEC or your local ELTEC Dealer. Call 800.227.1745; email sales@elteccorp.com or visit www.ELTECCORP.com.

Reprinted with permission from IMSA.

Antennas Mounted on Water Towers Support School’s IP Time Clocks

The school zone flashing beacons in Longview, Texas (pop 85,000) used a paging system to program school signals. Keith Covington, Traffic Signal Supervisor, determined the system “limited us, not only communicating with the clocks but monitoring the clocks”. ELTEC’s SYSTEM 3000 was chosen to centrally program, manage, and monitor each TC-3000 IP time clock (36 total).

Eltec System 3000

Eltec’s SYSTEM 3000 was chosen to centrally program, manage, and monitor school zone signals in 36 locations. A LANG 3000 was mounted at the top of three local water towers.

After reviewing available communication options to the Traffic Center from each LANG 3000 (gateway), it was determined to use the Water Department’s Ethernet connections. By utilizing three water towers, “reaching all our areas without spending a lot of money and without having a monthly bill” was doable according to Keith.

The water tower Ethernet connection is located at base of each tower. To avoid coax signal loss, LANG 3000’s (enclosed in a small cabinet) were installed on the top of the water towers. CAT 5 cable from the tower base to the top provides power and data communication. Doing so eliminated approximately 100 feet of coax cable ensuring maximum transmit power at the antenna. The 1 watt, 900 MHz spread spectrum radio didn’t lose signal strength by doing it this way.

After installing four gateways, one of the LANGs could not ‘see’ one school’s beacons due to hills and trees. Locating the fourth LANG to an intersection controller cabinet with a fiber connection, enabled them to utilize the system’s repeater capability resolving the problem. Two intermediate clocks were programmed to create and support a communication pathway. According to Keith “by installing the LANG in the intersection controller cabinet in the area of communication difficulty, the redirection of repeating signals (clock to clock) came easy when trying to maintain communication back to the Traffic Center.”

The DLPRO 3000 software is “easy to use and user friendly.” He continues, “Having the capability to connect and monitor each clock individually and quickly determines if lights are flashing with great accuracy. It’s a valuable tool of communication compared to the old system.” Monitoring all clocks at a glance is also an option with the Background Monitor function. With the former paging system, “you couldn’t validate if lights where flashing or not without going directly to the site or someone reporting it.” The SYSTEM 3000 “allows the opportunity to fix problems before they are noticed by the public through the DLPRO 3000 monitoring feature in the software.”

Contact ELTEC at 800.227.1745; sales@elteccorp.com; www.ELTECCORP.com or your local ELTEC Dealer for a SYSTEM 3000 analysis and quote.

Reprinted with permission from IMSA.

Walkable, Bike-able Summit

Toby Whitmore, Technical Sales Representative for Signal Service

Toby Whitmore, Technical Sales Representative for Signal Service

On May 7th, Signal Service based in West Chester, PA participated in Delaware’s “Walkable, Bike-able Summit”.  Pedestrian safety (walking and/or bicycling) was a primary focus.  Signal Service displayed the extremely effective Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon (RRFB) pedestrian crossing for uncontrolled crosswalks.

According to Toby Whitmore, Technical Sales Representative for Signal Service, “it was a big hit.  We got lots of questions from the DOT and bike advocacy groups.”

Solutions for Spot Devices’ School Beacons (IMSA Jan/Feb ’15)

When the SIMA software service was discontinued, remote communication and programming to Spot Devices’ school zones systems was no longer possible; nor was there a means for programming at the pole. For the MODOT (Missouri) Southwest District, ELTEC designed a cost-effective solution while salvaging as many parts as possible. Specifically, the cabinet, battery, charge controller, solar panel, and beacon were reused.

A voltage booster circuit was integrated inside ELTEC’s TC- 18 programmable time clock. The circuit board converts the 5 VDC solar panel and battery to 12 VDC powering the TC-18 time clock and LED. By simply mounting the clock inside the cabinet and connecting four wires, MODOT was back in business.

All TC-18 time clocks include a built-in DC flasher and operate on either AC or DC (solar). The keypad allows direct on- site programming, but it is computer programmable using the DLPRO 18 Software.

Every TC-18 is upgradable to become a TC-3000 time clock, an IP/network clock for remote programming and communication. All Spot Devices’ school zone systems have the option of being retrofitted with the TC-3000.

For more information or a quote on a Spot Devices retrofit: Phone: 800.227.1745;  Email sales@elteccorp.com or contact your local ELTEC Dealer www.ELTECCORP.com.

Delaware Signal Service Inc Show

DCTMA 2015 Municipalities Conference and Trade Show

The Delaware County Transportation Management Association held its 13th Annual Municipalities Conference and Trade Show on Thursday, April 9, 2015.  This year’s focus was on Congestion Coordination and Traffic Planning Solutions, held at the Drexelbrook Corporate Events Center.  Signal Services Inc, a dealer for ELTEC Corporation products, attended the event.

Presentations were from the keynote speaker, Pennsylvania’s Acting Secretary of Transportation, Leslie Richards, Stop, Look and Listen with SEPTA’s Delaware County route planner John Calnan, lunch, and opportunities to visit an exhibit area featuring suppliers of goods and services to municipalities.

Each year this event provides a great opportunity to interact with key decision-makers from municipalities throughout the region.

Signal Service, Inc. is a leading supplier of traffic control products with 56 years experience serving customers in the states of Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, and New York. To learn more about Signal Service, Inc. click here

Always Green Traffic Control – Congestion Solution (Aerial View)

Congestion wastes gas

The U.S. Treasury Department estimates that traffic congestion wastes 1.9 billion gallons of gas and costs American drivers $100 billion a year in lost fuel and time. With more than 311,000 traffic lights in the country, every second sitting at red lights adds up.

This is an aerial view of Always Green Traffic Control at an intersection northward and eastward traffic flows are 2650 vehicles per hour. Southward and Westward are 850 vph. This is peak flow & very heavy traffic.

Congestion Solution – Always Green Traffic Control

This has never been done before, 7,100 vehicles per hour (vph) and no queueing. Always Green Traffic Control (AGTC) is carrying 2650 vph loads North and East, 850 vph loads South and West with absolutely no queueing. Without AGTC the same loads cause massive backups.

Marshall, TX would benefit from my technology. Annoying stops on highways like 59 and 80 could be eliminated along with the long stops for cross traffic. This technology can give freeway-like travel to outdated highways like 59 and 80 and make them and the towns along them relevant again by making travel on them pleasant and efficient.