Farside Secondary Signals

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Gareth
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Farside Secondary Signals

Post by Gareth » Fri Jul 31, 2020 20:47

I've noticed in recent years that when a signal site has been refurbished, oftentimes the new signals don't have farside secondary signals on some or all the approaches that had them previously. Back in the day, they were near enough standard in all situations bar where there was a risk of amber trap with early cutoff operation. Has there been a change in the guidance in recent years?

What's people's preference on this? I can think of at least a couple of fairly modern signal installations locally where there's only a nearside secondary but it's hard to view if you're at the stop line and have to crank your neck sharp right to catch a glimpse of it.

Interesting how this varies throughout the world. In North America, most jurisdictions only have farside signals most of the time. In much of continental Europe, it is the opposite: nearside only. Scandinavia is similar to here, as is Australia, which usually has tons of signal heads both nearside, farside and overhead.

What system do you think is best? I'm honestly not sure. I do like just having a signal directly in front of me when at the stop line. Nearside secondaries can often to the job just as well but on wide road, it can be harder to see them. Farside signals can help pedestrians see what stage of the cycle the lights are in but can give false positives if the oncoming traffic has a separate green stage.

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Re: Farside Secondary Signals

Post by sydneynick » Sat Aug 01, 2020 02:08

I like the French system - no farside signals, but a small secondary signal down low to be seen by a driver at the stop line. This arrangement is good at ensuring that driver do not go past the stop line.
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Re: Farside Secondary Signals

Post by Piatkow » Sat Aug 01, 2020 09:33

sydneynick wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 02:08
I like the French system - no farside signals, but a small secondary signal down low to be seen by a driver at the stop line. This arrangement is good at ensuring that driver do not go past the stop line.
I agree about those although the first time that I went to France I wasn't sure if they were meant for me or for pedestrians.

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Re: Farside Secondary Signals

Post by Stevie D » Sat Aug 01, 2020 15:03

Gareth wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 20:47
I've noticed in recent years that when a signal site has been refurbished, oftentimes the new signals don't have farside secondary signals on some or all the approaches that had them previously. Back in the day, they were near enough standard in all situations bar where there was a risk of amber trap with early cutoff operation. Has there been a change in the guidance in recent years?

What's people's preference on this? I can think of at least a couple of fairly modern signal installations locally where there's only a nearside secondary but it's hard to view if you're at the stop line and have to crank your neck sharp right to catch a glimpse of it.

Interesting how this varies throughout the world. In North America, most jurisdictions only have farside signals most of the time. In much of continental Europe, it is the opposite: nearside only. Scandinavia is similar to here, as is Australia, which usually has tons of signal heads both nearside, farside and overhead.

What system do you think is best? I'm honestly not sure. I do like just having a signal directly in front of me when at the stop line. Nearside secondaries can often to the job just as well but on wide road, it can be harder to see them. Farside signals can help pedestrians see what stage of the cycle the lights are in but can give false positives if the oncoming traffic has a separate green stage.
If traffic turning right is allowed to move into the junction while oncoming traffic has a green light, and then complete the turn when oncoming traffic has stopped, then you need to have far-side repeaters so that drivers waiting to turn right can see when it is going to be safe for them to go, otherwise they are likely to wally about for a few seconds because they aren't sure whether oncoming traffic is actually stopping, and could potentially then get in the way of cross traffic.

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Re: Farside Secondary Signals

Post by traffic-light-man » Sat Aug 01, 2020 17:29

I've certainly noticed an increase in offside closely-associated secondaries (and duplicate primaries on single carriageways) in recent times, almost becoming a standard design decision in some places, despite whether there is a secondary in the conventional position or not.

More locally, the amount of signal heads being installed during refurbishments seems to have increased on the whole and high level signals are becoming increasingly common in the urban environment.

Edited to include note regarding duplicate primaries
Last edited by traffic-light-man on Sat Aug 01, 2020 19:34, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Farside Secondary Signals

Post by jervi » Sat Aug 01, 2020 18:39

My preference is:
Rural areas, both nearside and farside
Urban areas, nearside only

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Re: Farside Secondary Signals

Post by Gareth » Sat Aug 01, 2020 21:04

Stevie D wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 15:03
Gareth wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 20:47
If traffic turning right is allowed to move into the junction while oncoming traffic has a green light, and then complete the turn when oncoming traffic has stopped, then you need to have far-side repeaters so that drivers waiting to turn right can see when it is going to be safe for them to go, otherwise they are likely to wally about for a few seconds because they aren't sure whether oncoming traffic is actually stopping, and could potentially then get in the way of cross traffic.
It helps, I agree, although the counter-argument would be that you shouldn't make assumptions that the oncoming traffic won't run the signal. These days, the farside secondary head is often not there and was always absent where there was a risk of amber trap. I find that sometimes an oncoming vehicle will flash you to indicate that they're coming to a halt.

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Re: Farside Secondary Signals

Post by Gareth » Sat Aug 01, 2020 21:04

jervi wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 18:39
My preference is:
Rural areas, both nearside and farside
Urban areas, nearside only
I'm curious. Care to expand on that?

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Re: Farside Secondary Signals

Post by Big L » Sat Aug 01, 2020 21:15

My preference : Places that would be better with nearside and farside should have nearside and farside. Otherwise, not.
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Re: Farside Secondary Signals

Post by jervi » Sat Aug 01, 2020 21:38

Gareth wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 21:04
jervi wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 18:39
My preference is:
Rural areas, both nearside and farside
Urban areas, nearside only
I'm curious. Care to expand on that?
It's a combination of factors, of which most falls either side of rural and urban. So here are some of them:
1. At complex junctions, such as in urban areas it isn't always obvious who the secondary signals are for. This may also be a challenge for automated driving. Rural areas tend to have simple junctiona as not restricted by the geometry of buildings etc.
2. Better compliance for ASLs. Having signals only at the stop line will force drivers to stop at the correct stop line as they would not be able to see their signals otherwise. In rural areas this isn't an issue as there shouldn't be on carriageway cycle provisions in a rural environment.
3. Aesthetically more pleasing in urban areas for it to not be covered in signals, rural areas tend to not have this issue.

At some junctions in urban areas, I've seen people turn onto a road (when they have green), only to stop before the exit of the junction because they've seen a secondary red light for the other direction, this is especially confusing when there is pedestrian crossing at the junction.

Some exclusions of this would be signalised roundabouts, where a far side signal is the most important one. In this situation it is always clear who the signal is for, cycle lanes shouldn't exist on roundabouts.
Some urban junctions should still retain secondary farside signals as appropriate, however shouldn't be the norm

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Re: Farside Secondary Signals

Post by Gareth » Sat Aug 01, 2020 22:30

Big L wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 21:15
My preference : Places that would be better with nearside and farside should have nearside and farside. Otherwise, not.
Killer argument.

End of thread.

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Re: Farside Secondary Signals

Post by traffic-light-man » Sun Aug 02, 2020 11:20

jervi wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 21:38
At some junctions in urban areas, I've seen people turn onto a road (when they have green), only to stop before the exit of the junction because they've seen a secondary red light for the other direction, this is especially confusing when there is pedestrian crossing at the junction.
Certain sites seem to suffer this, and IMV, it isn't always obvious what makes those particular sites different. This one has always suffered from it, even with the Mellor signals that proceeded it.

Liverpool seemed to pursue a policy of long hoods on conventional secondaries during the 2000s, I assume to prevent this and possibly to remove anticipation.

I prefer to see far sided secondaries on 'standard' junctions. If things are complex or the junction area is long beyond the stop-line, then I absolutely understand using CASs instead.

This one is most confusing, being that you are literally faced with a red light once you've turned out of the 'side' road on the left, but the lantern is necessary for the early cut-off RTIGA on the 'main' road. I'm not sure I can think of a simplistic fix without either making it a late-start RTIGA and thus removing the need for secondary in question, or by installing an additional stop-line and primary in the middle of the stagger, and louvre the heck out of them so that it can still show green with arrow when the side road is released.
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Re: Farside Secondary Signals

Post by Rambo » Sun Aug 02, 2020 11:35

At some junctions in urban areas, I've seen people turn onto a road (when they have green), only to stop before the exit of the junction because they've seen a secondary red light for the other direction, this is especially confusing when there is pedestrian crossing at the junction.
I see this almost daily at this junction https://www.google.com/maps/@53.4049477 ... 312!8i6656

as turning out of the side road as the google car is doing there is a pedestrian crossing which is controlled by the junction. But a lot of people pull up at these lights thinking they are red for the crossing.

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Re: Farside Secondary Signals

Post by traffic-light-man » Sun Aug 02, 2020 13:06

Rambo wrote:
Sun Aug 02, 2020 11:35
I see this almost daily at this junction https://www.google.com/maps/@53.4049477 ... 312!8i6656

as turning out of the side road as the google car is doing there is a pedestrian crossing which is controlled by the junction. But a lot of people pull up at these lights thinking they are red for the crossing.
I assume that's why the secondary has been given a long visor on the red aspect, but it mustn't be achieving the desired effect. Moving it to sit next to the right turn head would possibly solve the issues and would still be within the recommended angles for the driver's view from the stop line. Of course, that's without knowing the justification for siting the head where it is currently.
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Re: Farside Secondary Signals

Post by Dave908 » Sun Aug 02, 2020 14:08

traffic-light-man wrote:
Sun Aug 02, 2020 13:06
Rambo wrote:
Sun Aug 02, 2020 11:35
I see this almost daily at this junction https://www.google.com/maps/@53.4049477 ... 312!8i6656

as turning out of the side road as the google car is doing there is a pedestrian crossing which is controlled by the junction. But a lot of people pull up at these lights thinking they are red for the crossing.
I assume that's why the secondary has been given a long visor on the red aspect, but it mustn't be achieving the desired effect. Moving it to sit next to the right turn head would possibly solve the issues and would still be within the recommended angles for the driver's view from the stop line. Of course, that's without knowing the justification for siting the head where it is currently.
Confusion with pedestrian signals was also an issue here in St Helens where traffic turning left from Baldwin Street into Cotham Street would stop at the secondary aspect for Westfield Street, outside Wilko. I used to get the bus from here and ended up complaining to St Helens Council about the issue with the signals, but didn't get a response.

The junction has since been upgraded and the problem has now gone away.

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Re: Farside Secondary Signals

Post by WHBM » Sun Aug 02, 2020 14:19

jervi wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 21:38
2. Better compliance for ASLs. Having signals only at the stop line will force drivers to stop at the correct stop line as they would not be able to see their signals otherwise. In rural areas this isn't an issue as there shouldn't be on carriageway cycle provisions in a rural environment.
The cyclists in the box then wouldn't be able to see the signal. Neither would car drivers in slow moving traffic who pass the first stop line just as the signals change, who then stop, correctly, at the ASL, as stipulated in the regulations.

USA uses lenses with optical characteristics of a very narrow and targeted field of view, which have for some reason never been used in the UK, where long hoods and louvres are only a partial solution.

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Re: Farside Secondary Signals

Post by traffic-light-man » Sun Aug 02, 2020 14:30

Dave908 wrote:
Sun Aug 02, 2020 14:08
Confusion with pedestrian signals was also an issue here in St Helens where traffic turning left from Baldwin Street into Cotham Street would stop at the secondary aspect for Westfield Street, outside Wilko. I used to get the bus from here and ended up complaining to St Helens Council about the issue with the signals, but didn't get a response.
That secondary outside Wilko had a red louvre to prevent mis-reading. I can't say I ever noticed it being a problem, but the louvre would suggest it either was or had been identified as a problem, and I can't remember it without one. As you've pointed out, that junction is now exclusively closely-associated, so there's no sighting issues in that respect.
traffic-light-man wrote:
Sun Aug 02, 2020 11:20
This one is most confusing, being that you are literally faced with a red light once you've turned out of the 'side' road on the left, but the lantern is necessary for the early cut-off RTIGA on the 'main' road. I'm not sure I can think of a simplistic fix without either making it a late-start RTIGA and thus removing the need for secondary in question, or by installing an additional stop-line and primary in the middle of the stagger, and louvre the heck out of them so that it can still show green with arrow when the side road is released.
I'd also like to revoke most of that... I've just had a look on GSV, and it appears to show a late-start already. I clearly didn't do my homework, but I seem to remember it being an early cut-off. I've also just took a better 'driver's view' look, and I think if you took away the far-sided secondary with the arrow, the ambiguity presented would perhaps be a bit too unsafe given the distance between the remaining CAS and the turning point, especially if it's a late-start where the arrow just extinguishes without warning.
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Re: Farside Secondary Signals

Post by jervi » Sun Aug 02, 2020 14:34

WHBM wrote:
Sun Aug 02, 2020 14:19
jervi wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 21:38
2. Better compliance for ASLs. Having signals only at the stop line will force drivers to stop at the correct stop line as they would not be able to see their signals otherwise. In rural areas this isn't an issue as there shouldn't be on carriageway cycle provisions in a rural environment.
The cyclists in the box then wouldn't be able to see the signal. Neither would car drivers in slow moving traffic who pass the first stop line just as the signals change, who then stop, correctly, at the ASL, as stipulated in the regulations.

USA uses lenses with optical characteristics of a very narrow and targeted field of view, which have for some reason never been used in the UK, where long hoods and louvres are only a partial solution.
Have low level cycle signals on the ASL, which should really ought to be standard for ASLs now.
Yes, if you can't stop for the first stop line you shouldn't pass the ASL, although rarely (i.e. never) have I ever been in that situation since you shouldn't enter any junction without knowing your exit is clear (within reason).
In fact I have seen a junction with exactly this set up, although can't remember where it is, probably in Brighton somewhere.

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Re: Farside Secondary Signals

Post by traffic-light-man » Sun Aug 02, 2020 14:41

WHBM wrote:
Sun Aug 02, 2020 14:19
USA uses lenses with optical characteristics of a very narrow and targeted field of view, which have for some reason never been used in the UK, where long hoods and louvres are only a partial solution.
They have dedicated lanterns for that purpose manufactured by 3M, McCain and Intelight, where the engineer can (in the case of former two) mask the lenses physically with adhesive tape or (in the case of the latter) illuminate only parts of a fully-populated board of LEDs in order to 'steer' the beam, both resulting in only the targeted area being able to see the aspect as fully illuminated. They're costly and require much more variance from the norm than simply attaching a different style of hood to a standard signal head, but in principle are a brilliant idea. They never seemed to cotton on anywhere else, apart from Japan, where the 3M offering was a regular solution.

In the US, their regular signal lenses are similar to Mellor lenses in the UK, and the use of louvres and extended hoods are commonplace. In fact, the US and Japan have both developed louvres which have a lot of veins and a very narrow field of view as a result, which are replacing the 3M in many cases.
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Re: Farside Secondary Signals

Post by Al__S » Sun Aug 02, 2020 16:02

Far side signals cover two sins:

Poor junction/signal design that means you could have drivers easily "marooned" mid junction

Endemic poor driving.

I was taught when learning to drive that approaching a traffic light at or turning red that I should be stopping with the line still visible in front of the car (but only just). if you do that, you should always be able to see nearside signals easily. And that approaching signals expecting that they may change from green and be ready to react as appropriate. Was this unusual? Was this just one particularly cautious instructor? It's very common to see drivers variously stopped with their wheels on or over the line, parking fully in ASLs when the lights changed well before they reached the junction, the same but beyond the line/ASL, creeping forward in gear whilst the red is on, etc. Plus, obviously, speeding makes it far more likely that if a light does change you won't be able to stop safely in time.

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