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Friday, September 18, 2009

Strobes on the Connector

As followers of this Blog know, I have been on about the fact that two of the three strobe lights at the bottom of the Connector are burned out and have not been replaced and this problem is a couple of months old.

Thursday afternoon late (yesterday) I got a phone call from the District 4 Director, Ms Patricia Leavenworth, PE.

Ms Leavenworth told me that her folks responded to her question about the burned out strobes that the new national standards say no strobes on street lights.  However, being an engineer, she apparently wants to know the why behind the new policy and she is probing for that information.  When she passes it on to me, I will pass it on to you.

In the mean time, don't look for replacement strobe lights any time soon.

And a hearty thank you to Ms Leavenworth.

Regards  —  Cliff

  I wonder if anyone told Lowell City Government (re the light at Gorham and Union Streets).


jotrud said...

21. Q: Are strobe lights allowed in red signals?

A: No, they are not allowed. There are no provisions in Part 4 of the MUTCD that allow the use of strobes within red traffic signals. Section 4D.18 requires the design, illumination, and color all signal indications, including those using LEDs, to meet the requirements of the "Standards for Vehicle Traffic Control Signal Heads" published by the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE), and those standards do not provide for strobes as part of the design. Research and experimentation over the years with white strobe lights as a circular "halo" outer ring around the red signal or as horizontal bar across the red signal has found no lasting safety benefit and, in some cases, the strobes resulted in increased crash frequency. Based on this experience, FHWA made a determination in 1990 no further experimentation with strobe lights in traffic signals would be approved and that all existing strobes were to be removed. In 1995 a report by the Virginia Transportation Research Council provided an updated review of strobe light effectiveness in the States where they had been used. That report validated the previous analyses and came to the same basic conclusion, that there is no evidence that strobe lights are consistently effective in reducing crashes. Therefore, it is still FHWA's position that strobe lights are not allowed in traffic signals and no further experimentations with these types of strobe lights in traffic signals will be approved. This position was formalized in July 2003 with an Official Interpretation of the MUTCD, number 4-263(I).

C R Krieger said...

Jotrud—nice report.

But, it does seem strange that the strobes at the bottom of the Connector went up just a few years ago, but the prohibition comes from July 2003.

And, I expect the science is correct.  What may sensitize one to be careful today may well desensitize one next week.

On my screen, the URL Jotrud provided was obscured, so here it is again, embedded.

Thanks, Jotrud

Regards  —  Cliff