Is a Progress Bar on a Traffic Light a Good Idea?

traffic light progress barA design award has been given for a concept that would allow existing traffic lights to be retrofitted with progress bars that offer a visual representation of when the light will change.  Several benefits have been suggested...
- Less pollution, as drivers can turn their engines off and cut carbon emissions while waiting for the green light,
- Less fuel consumption, as turning off vehicle engines lowers fuel consumption in the long run,
- Less stress, since drivers know exactly how long to wait, and
- Safer driving, as all traffic participants are fully aware of how much time they have left before the light changes, reducing the chance for potential traffic accidents.

Link, via Gizmodo and Reddit (where the discussion thread is decidedly less sanguine regarding the consequences of such lights).

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In some german Cities as Hamburg, Düsseldorf and Bochum you can find such trafficlights :

http://de.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Datei:Hh-ampel.jpg&filetimestamp=20060709105731
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They have walk light timers pretty much all over the Canadian city that i live in. You can read the time remaining from about a block away and I use them to gauge whether or not I'll be able to make the light or if I should slow down and be ready to stop. It also makes waiting for the light to change a little less irritating, I think.
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we don't have these where I live but if you're at an intersection with walk lights it's easy to see when the light's about to change--when the don't walk sign is blinking
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Why not create something that will really save gas!!!??? Timed stoplights are stupid. How about smart-stop-lights??? Something that has an eye and can see down the road and change if there are no cars coming from the cross sectioned streets. How much gas is really wasted during non-busy times with timed stoplights when you have to stop for absolutely NO reason???
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