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Old 05-14-2010, 03:56 PM   #1 (permalink)
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VIDEO: Timing Traffic Lights

Hey guys,

I made a little video on how to time traffic lights.

I know it's not perfect, but I think it gets the idea across.

Feel free to repost it and share it with your friends.





PS: I plan on working to improve the audio for the next video. This camera doesn't have a mic jack!

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Last edited by bennelson; 05-14-2010 at 03:57 PM.. Reason: sound comment
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Old 05-15-2010, 05:02 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Good demo, I always look at it as the objective is to go through the light (intersection) at the closest speed, to your average speed, on that same stretch of highway. A specific section of my route requires a speed of 47-50 MPH, even though the posted limit is 45. If you go 45 you get nailed by almost 1/3 rd of the lights. At 47 you will hit them yellow, and at 50 you hit them green.

Also, if you are driving your regular route, know the traffic patterns through the intersections you must navigate, to help you to time the light, and know the spot on the road in your route where you will not get through the light if it changes to green before you pass that point.

In my almost daily route, there are 46 lights in a 39 mile round trip. Light timing and anticipation can mean the difference between never stopping for a light or getting caught by up to 10 out of the 46. The difference in mileage can be significant. One stretch of 5 miles is 12 lights, so timing is essential.

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Old 05-15-2010, 05:34 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Nice vid, Ben

I liked the "And there is the policeman..." Never wants to stop me

My Wife recently got her license, so whenever she drives I coach her to save fuel. One of the things I've noticed, and I think it's something that most drivers do, not just beginners, is that she only looks at what's going on directly in front of the car, not far, far ahead. She's only thinking about the nearest traffic light, not the second or third light behind it. I blame this on her being a beginner and being absorbed by too many other things, and hopefully she'll look farther ahead once she's got the hang of driving. So I help her by advising not to accelerate, since even though the closest light is green, the next one has just turned red.
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Old 05-15-2010, 02:15 PM   #4 (permalink)
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In one part of houston, it's a bit of a trip. FM1960 at night is fairly bleak and empty, and if you go 45 (speed limit), you will hit ever. red. light. Cruise at about 50-55, and you can make about 2/3 to 3/4 of all the lights with no issue.

Of course, during the day no body realizes this, and it's stop and go everytime.
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Old 05-15-2010, 10:39 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Great job on the video! I enjoyed watching it. It's funny how often other drivers pass me, seemingly pissed of as I coast to a long red light, only to get stuck behind a semi-truck at the red light and have me pass them. Excellent tips!
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Old 05-16-2010, 10:38 AM   #6 (permalink)
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also bonus of timing lights, you dont have to use your brakes as much/if at all!!

Its awesome to hear someone (and i wont mention names ) say "you only used your brakes like 3 times!"

also, in regards to the in video message box, in manual cars, you can actually control if your car is using any gas at all to roll up to a stop light. simply let off the gas, and you can feel the ecu cut signal to the injectors (it helps to have instrumentation to also show this), and you can feel when the injectors start getting a signal again, at which point, you downshift, and slowly let off the clutch....and the process repeats. I do this all the way from fifth gear (which is what i'm in at any speed above 30-33mph), down to second (rolling right up to the stop light).

Using this method above allows you to get much closer while using no fuel at all, allowing for a few extra seconds of red light..

In a automatic car, its not AS easy, but still possible...i like to call it 'super smart braking' (unless thats already claimed by someone, then i'll change it )...more or less, its similar, except you use the brake/gas (very delicatly) to almost 'force' the car to downshift, then letting off the gas cuts the signal to the injectors again..i could usually only do this down to '3rd gear' in an automatic, but still...using it can be very effective!
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Old 05-16-2010, 11:39 AM   #7 (permalink)
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In my car (2007 Hyundai Accent GLS Auto), I first let off the gas pedal to induce fuel cut off (DCFO? DFCO? Some 4 letter acronym starting with D and ending with O). With the overdrive still engaged, it can get down to about 35-40 without downshifting. Then, I just push the button to disengage overdrive, and it continues rolling with no fuel until about 15-20 mph. I haven't been able to get it to go slower, but I'd say that's pretty good for me...

A curious situation, though, is that the car only cuts off fuel about 60% of the time. I don't know why it doesn't at other times. When no fuel is delivered to the injectors, the scangauge reads 9999mpg. At other times, I let off the gas pedal and it shows only about 60 mpg, and using about 0.50 gph. I thought that there is some correlation with cold vs. warm engine (it still does this when warm) or that it had something to do with a very full fuel tank (nope) or a very empty one (not necessarily). Anyone know what's up? Maybe the ECU doesn't correctly report fuel cut-off and it always happens anyway?
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Old 05-16-2010, 11:47 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I've been doing this for a while now. It's somewhat hard to do in mountains though. Either you're on a curve and don't see it until you're on it or its past the peak of a hill and you can't see it still. But on flat ground its real nice to be able to see the light for a mile ahead. In florida, I noticed that you had so much warning that you could time out the light and know how long it lasts.
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Old 05-16-2010, 06:53 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Nice video! Very informative.

Living in a college town we have some areas with street lights spaced 200feet apart and not timed together in any way. Makes for a big challenge timing multiple lights. I would love to see more lights with the new camera system they have been testing on one intersection. It can see you far enough away that you don't even have to slow down before the light changes.
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Old 05-16-2010, 09:28 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Heading home from shopping on Friday, I saw a sign warning of single lane traffic with a temporary traffic light ahead. It was for the bad culvert just outside of town here, 80 miles away. There's another one just 60 miles farther on. I better get good at this! :-)

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