How Do Traffic Light Signals Really Work?

Traffic light signals

We shall examine in detail the working principles and mechanisms of how traffic light signals work. You must have probably been wondering how those traffic light you see on the road works whenever you are driving off to either the gym or traveling off to another state. well today we shall be discussing on traffic light sensors and how they really work.

In order to understand how traffic light signals or sensors work, you need to understand that every traffic light possesses either a sensor or a timer. The big cities mostly makes use of traffic light which possesses timers, while the countryside are filled up with traffic light sensors, which is also known as a traffic light detector.
Traffic light sensors makes use of different technologies such as radars, induction loops, lasers, cameras, e.t.c.
Now lets dive deeper on how these sensor technologies work, below are detailed information on how each of these technologies function

 

1 ) The Induction Loops

The most commonly used traffic light sensors and also considered to be reliable are the induction loops. induction loops are coils of wire that are being inserted in the road’s surface area. Now these coils of wire helps in detecting any changes in inductance before transporting those changes to the sensor’s circuitry , which in return produces road signals.

The induction loop is said to achieve more inductance if it contains various iron core and wire coils.

Note: The magnetic materials of which the wire coils are being wrapped is known as the core.

 

Advantages of Induction Loops in Building Traffic light Signals

There are several advantages of the induction loop, some of these advantages includes:
* The weather does not have any negative effect on the induction loop.
* The induction loops are immune to accidental false positives.
Although the induction loops are able to detect vehicles, in most case scenario, induction loops find it very difficult to detect bicycles, which is as a result of a bicycle’s lack of adequate metallic component.

 

2) Microwave Radar Sensors

Sensor

The microwave radar detectors or sensors are devices which are responsible for detecting any form of large object either traveling towards or away from them. The microwave radar sensor is considered to be used more than the induction loops.

Some drivers assume that flashing their car’s headlights helps changes the traffic light quicker, this may have been caused due to a widespread of false information. The truth is that microwave radar sensor does not in any way detect light.

The microwave radar sensor has some similarities with the infrared sensor in terms on how they both operate. Both the microwave radar sensor and the infrared are more easier and cheaper to install and maintain than the induction loops and they both makes use of electromagnetic energy to detect traffic at every intersection, although the microwave radar sensor is more affordable when compared to the infrared sensor.

 

3) Video Sensors

Video sensor

Due to the rapid rise in technology especially in terms of artificial intelligence, video technology has become more advanced, which hasĀ  given rise to video sensors.

In traffic light signals management, video sensors are able to determine when a car or even pedestrians move into a zone which is being detected by the camera. Whenever the camera detects a vehicle, it immediately sends a signal to the traffic light, notifying it to change signal.

Although the video sensor proves useful in a lot of ways, it also has one major disadvantage, which is that it doesn’t function properly in bad weather conditions.

There are other types of sensors which are being used such as the infrared sensors. Although there is no best choice when it comes to what sensor one should purchase, but it is a good idea to make use of two or more different sensors in areas which suffer from heavy traffic. For instance, making use of the induction loops sensor and the microwave sensor is a very nice combination.

 

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