Old technology for traffic lights set fixed timers that made people wait at lights, even if there was no other traffic at the intersection. In the old days, when the pace of life was slower, people didn’t seem to mind much.
Today, a significant portion of the world’s urban roads have inductive loop traffic light sensors buried in them that emit a high flux magnetic field that is affected by automobile metal, triggering a traffic light change. This is the same technology used in metal detectors. By this means, waiting times at traffic lights have been significantly shortened.
Similar technology is used allowing firetrucks and police cars, aka “Code 3” security vehicles, to use strobes that emit a pattern of white flashes that are picked up by a traffic pole or light sensor and turn the light green.
But until now, there has been little bicycle riders could do to take advantage of traffic light sensors. There are a few cities like Portland, Oregon, who have programmed their traffic lights to recognize bikes, but this is the exception. And many cyclists have tried using their own magnets to trigger traffic lights, circumventing clueless local governments. But it doesn’t always work.
Allowing Bicycles to Trigger Traffic Light Sensors
A new company, Veloloop, wants to change the life of bicyclists for the better. Company founder Nat Collins and colleagues have designed and aluminum loop micro-controller powered by two AAA batteries that triggers traffic sensors, turning a light green and allowing bicyclists unfettered passage through intersections, efficiently moving them on their merry way.
Veloloop has a Kickstarter campaign.
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