Traffic: Countdown to Red

For many motorists, the amber traffic signal is more a challenge than a warning: instead of slowing down, they speed up, trying to beat the light before it changes. It is a hazardous practice, since there is no way of knowing precisely when the light will turn red.

The answer may prove to be a new "countdown" traffic light that has been tested over an eight-month period in Abilene, Texas, and cut traffic accidents at a busy intersection by 44% . It looks like an ordinary traffic-light signal head. But twelve seconds before it is due to change, the amber...

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