The usual function of traffic lights needs more than slight control & coordination to make sure that traffic moves smoothly & safely and pedestrians are sheltered when they cross the roadways. A range of diverse control systems are employed to attain this, varying from simple clockwork mechanisms to complicated computerized control & coordination systems that self adjust to lessen delay to people employing the roads.

Phases & stages:

In fact, Traffic signal controllers employ the concept of phases, which are direction of movement grouped collectively. For example, a plain crossroad may have 4 vehicle movement phases: South, West, East and North. There might be supplementary phases for pedestrian movements also.

A stage is cluster of phases which operate concurrently. A plain crossroad might have 2 stages: West & east, South & North. It’s essential that phases in a stage don’t conflict with one another.

Traffic Controller System:

Well, a traffic sign is usually managed via a controller installed within a cabinet. Some electro mechanical controllers are still in action. Nonetheless, contemporary traffic controllers are in solid state. The cabinet usually features a power panel, to allocate electric power in the cabinet; a detector interface panel to link to loop detectors & other detectors; the controller itself; detector amplifiers; flash transfer relays, a conflict monitor system; a police panel to let the cop to deactivate the signal & other components.

In the United States, controllers are standardized by the NEMA, which sets standards for connectors, operating limits, and intervals. The TS-1 standard was introduced in 1976 for the first generation of solid-state controllers.

Solid-state traffic light controllers are needed to possess an independent Conflict Monitor Unit (CMU), which makes sure secure operation. The CMU monitors the outputs of the controller, and if a fault is detected, the CMU uses the flash transfer relays to put the intersection to FLASH, with all red lights flashing, rather than displaying a potentially hazardous combination of signals. The CMU is programmed with the allowable combinations of lights, and will detect if the controller gives conflicting directions a green signal.

Traffic lights should be instructed when to change stage & they are generally coordinated so that the stage changes happen in some relationship to other nearby signals or to the press of a pedestrian button or to the action of a timer or a number of other inputs.

The traffic controller uses input from detectors, which are sensors that inform the controller processor whether vehicles or other road users are present, to adjust signal timing and phasing within the limits set by the controller’s programming.