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Modern Options for Traffic Signals

May 19, 2020

The world of motor vehicles, paved road systems, and traffic lights has only been around for about a century. Think of all the amazing improvements that have happened during that time with electronic traffic control systems. Here’s a review of milestones in this evolution and where traffic signals are pointed for the future.

Traffic Monitoring Devices

Cities now have the choice to integrate traffic monitoring systems with traffic signals. The advent of electronic driver feedback signs are among the most ground-breaking in this evolution. Not only can these signs detect and display the speeds passing vehicles are moving, they can communicate to law enforcement officials when someone is speeding. TraffiCalm, a designer of these systems, offers a line of traffic monitoring devices that integrate with traffic lights. This solution works for traffic calming purposes.

Beacons and Flashers

Traffic lights have come a long way since they were first installed in the early 20th century. By the new millennium, cities had many different traffic control options to chose from to make their communities safer. Beacons and flashers are important options that effectively alert drivers and give them better visibility of warning and regulatory signage.

Two key technologies have driven the development of flashing lights, which are LEDs and Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFBs). LEDs have helped save lives due to their brightness. RRFBs project alternative and irregular flashing LED lights, which garner attention. After the original RRFB patent owner sold the patent, the acquiring company disclaimed the patent, opening up the technology in the public domain to other manufacturers. The Federal Highway Administrated reinstated the use of RRFBs in 2018.

Flashing yellow lights are essential on certain urban and rural roads. These beacons can be retrofitted on traditional road signs. They are particularly useful for installing a series of chevrons around sharp curves to help guide traffic. They also provide extra protection for pedestrians at crosswalks, such as with TraffiCalm’s Push 2 Cross system.

IoT-Based Systems

Internet of Things (IoT) systems, also known as smart technology, are everywhere you turn. The technology has become very helpful in modern infrastructure planning and development, especially for electric and water utilities, as well as law enforcement. Internet-based traffic lights can be controlled from a remote location with programming that allows for scheduling many options, such as:

  • text for electronic messages
  • when messages are displayed
  • speed of flashing lights
  • brightness options
  • beacon behavior options

This technology can be accessed and managed in real-time, which helps local officials resolve traffic problems faster. It helps officials pinpoint where accidents occur and how to address improvements for specific locations. These systems can trigger alerts to law enforcement for various issues such as traffic congestion or unsafe driving. The more data a system can collect on road conditions, weather, and driver behavior, the more cities can achieve making roads safer.

Monitoring devices connected with traffic signals can further help cities save money, such as with TraffiCalm’s solar-powered Sign Alert systems. Alternate routes can now be planned much quicker, which is helpful to first responders. IoT technology will continue to rapidly evolve and become more efficient and powerful in its data collection, making it important for city officials to keep an eye on.


New technology is constantly changing the cultural landscape. Contact Zumar for more information on traffic signals and other modern technology used for traffic control or request a free quote.

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