Traffic Light Countdown Display Could Ease Anxiety. Or Not.

December 18, 2009

Drivers in urban areas have developed countless ways to cope with red light anxiety -- that frustration that stems from not knowing when that pesky traffic light dangling overhead will turn green. Some folks keep their eyes trained on pedestrian crossing signs, waiting for them to switch from "walk" to "don't walk". Others crane their necks to peek at the opposing traffic signal, waiting to see that telltale yellow glow. Serbian designer Damjan Stankovic, however, has a much simpler, more direct solution to the problem in his Eko light concept. Taking a cue from the countless "loading" icons that internet users see every day, Stankovic's red light is ringed with a visual countdown timer, giving drivers a very clear indication of how long they'll be waiting.

Stankovic admits that red light anxiety can lead to dangerous driving, but he sees some benefits to his gadget -- like allowing drivers to turn off their engines during long stops. And we suppose it could be worse -- for example, if Stankovic included a similar display for the green light. Still, we don't plan to be caught in the crosswalks if the Eko ever sees the light of day.


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