Traffic lights across New York could be adding a fourth light color to intersections.

One thing I think we can all agree on is that most of us hate sitting at traffic lights, right? There are a few things that are guaranteed in our driving lives in New York, if you are late for work, you will hit every red light on the way in, and if a light turns yellow you will probably see someone speed up to try and zip through and if a light turns green and the car in front of you doesn't move the odds say they are looking at their phones!

Traffic light

Now imagine having another light to deal with. Researchers are now suggesting that traffic lights add another colored light to the mix.

4th Traffic light

Adding Another Colored Light to Traffic Signals in New York?

New research is suggesting that states across the country (including New York) consider adding a fourth light to traffic signals. We already have red, green, and yellow and because of new technology, we may soon need to add a fourth light that would deal directly with autonomous vehicles (AVs). The fourth light is currently in its research stage, which researchers are calling the "white phase" and would allow self-driving vehicles to communicate with traffic signals.

Traffic Lights

What Does a 4th Light Mean for Drivers?

The new traffic light color, which in its current stage is white, would let human drivers know when a self-driving car is at the intersection and that it's controlling the flow of traffic according to NC State. So if you were to see a white light at a traffic signal you would know that "AVs are coordinating their movement to facilitate traffic through the intersection more efficiently" and simply follow the car in front of you.

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Research has shown that the "white phase" has shortened wait times at street corners for pedestrians, as well as improved traffic flow for both autonomous vehicles and human drivers. The white lights aren't being added to traffic lights now, but as more AVs hit the roads they could be here sooner than later.

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