Actuated traffic light control in Russia

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WhiteBlueRed
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Location: Krasnoyarsk, Russia

Actuated traffic light control in Russia

Post by WhiteBlueRed »

Here in Russia, most traffic lights run on fixed-time, and due to that, many of them have countdown timers. This, at first glance, seems good for the drivers, but not so much in general, as that type of control is not flexible. Countdown timers by themselves may actually provoke drivers to speed up to "beat the light", a study in my city came to the conclusion.
However things are moving, and a few years ago, actuation was first installed at a traffic light in Zelenograd, and was well-received.
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Since then, more and more traffic lights in Moscow have been upgraded with actuated technology to allow them to better adapt to varying traffic conditions. There's one drawback with that control though, and that is no more countdowns. This is because the stage duration is determined in real-time, as opposed to it being predetermined, so you can't be sure that it'll remain green next second and not change.
Sadly though, this type of control is mostly restricted to the European part of Russia, mostly in and around Moscow. There are only a handful of actuated traffic light junctions outside it, one in St Petersburg, and a few in Chelyabinsk. My Siberian city still uses fixed-time.
The benefits are evident, stages may be skipped if nobody's waiting, and the light won't change if nobody's there.
Something interesting, is that some upgraded junctions have part-time vehicle actuation, and at other times run fixed-time. The countdowns are retained, and during the actuated period, it instead displays "АУ" (Адаптивное Управление) "Adaptive Control".
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What are other countries in the world that prefer fixed-time over vehicle actuation?
linuxrocks
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Re: Actuated traffic light control in Russia

Post by linuxrocks »

I think the countdown drivers can see is a good idea. The only countdowns I've seen is for pedestrians, supposedly to tell them how long they have to cross the road. If the timer says 30, it seems to be 15 seconds before it is zero.
WhiteBlueRed
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Re: Actuated traffic light control in Russia

Post by WhiteBlueRed »

My local junction has pedestrian countdowns, used to have a countdown on the traffic light. When the signals were refurbished, the countdown was moved to the pedestrian signals. A bit inconvenient, but drivers still can use it, by looking at the pedestrian signal on their right, as the junction is set up in a way that there's atleast 1 pedestrian crossing green with right-turners conflicting.
pjr10th
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Re: Actuated traffic light control in Russia

Post by pjr10th »

linuxrocks wrote: Thu Feb 03, 2022 11:52 I think the countdown drivers can see is a good idea. The only countdowns I've seen is for pedestrians, supposedly to tell them how long they have to cross the road. If the timer says 30, it seems to be 15 seconds before it is zero.
The issue with British-style countdown clocks is that they are almost universally used in place of a blackout period on farside signals. Therefore, they're practically useless except to pedestrians arriving during that blackout who want to risk bolting it across the road.

I wish we'd adopt a Continental-style countdown which is for red signals and shows the maximum amount of time left until it will be your turn. For vehicles, we'd have to be sure it wouldn't enrage drivers to see a countdown e.g. >90s long. I think the UK (and other countries who use starting amber like Germany) should replace the starting amber with a countdown clock. So, the second the lights are 100% sure how long it will be until green, the amber starts counting down to 00.
WhiteBlueRed
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Re: Actuated traffic light control in Russia

Post by WhiteBlueRed »

In Russia, the countdown is displayed throughout the entire time pedestrians have green. Both the countdown and the green man flash for at least 3 seconds before changing to a red man.
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traffic-light-man
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Re: Actuated traffic light control in Russia

Post by traffic-light-man »

pjr10th wrote: Thu Apr 07, 2022 16:12The issue with British-style countdown clocks is that they are almost universally used in place of a blackout period on farside signals. Therefore, they're practically useless except to pedestrians arriving during that blackout who want to risk bolting it across the road.
They are only used in place of a blackout period with farside signals, and indeed it's the blackout that makes them work. TfL (and presumably other authorities) typically shorten the green time and when using the PCaTS because of there's more information available to the crossing users, so in actual fact it often makes the whole cycle time shorter than the original set of minimums allowed.
pjr10th wrote: Thu Apr 07, 2022 16:12I wish we'd adopt a Continental-style countdown which is for red signals and shows the maximum amount of time left until it will be your turn. For vehicles, we'd have to be sure it wouldn't enrage drivers to see a countdown e.g. >90s long. I think the UK (and other countries who use starting amber like Germany) should replace the starting amber with a countdown clock. So, the second the lights are 100% sure how long it will be until green, the amber starts counting down to 00.
Red countdowns in actuated systems are notoriously difficult to do, particularly with numbers. That's why the Dutch have largely moved to non-numeric countdown timers, and even still you often see them simply switch off part way through their countdown.

I'd like to see how a starting amber replacement countdown would work on a MOVA site - You'd primarily only ever be able to countdown the intergreen period if it was making a traffic-traffic stage change. I'm not sure that's a game changing idea for a replacement to the starting amber.
Simon
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