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LED traffic lights too cool for snowy Aomori

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Why not use old-fashioned railway signals, with moving arms? They'd be constantly in motion, so the snow wouldn't settle and the joints wouldn't freeze.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Just within the last couple weeks I saw something about this on the TV, but in another prefecture. Can't remember just where, maybe Niigata? Anyway they had been having the same problem and have been replacing (I would think the still fairly new) LED signals with newer LED signals designed to deal with the snow. There were several types, one was a flat panel installed at a slant. I remember wondering why, since it's well known that LEDs don't get warm, no one envisioned this problem before going to all the expense and trouble to install the signals that have turned out to be less than optimal during the winter? How much tax money was wasted? Anyway, although a bit late, the new designs looked clever and better. Hopefully officials in Aomori are aware of and considering them.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

lucabrasi - your's would be a real luca brasi solution. love it!

ed60 - it would be easy in hindsight to agree... it seems so logical to miss. However, much the same happens with them there libraries, that are built, tall, beautiful.. marvels of engineering, which suddenly start sinking an inch a year.

The engineers forgot to account for the weight of the books.

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Weird that those lights in the picture are vertical. Where I live the lights are horizontal. Horizontal lights can't get snow built up.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

LOL @ tatsuwashi

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can reintroduce the small roofing for the lamp just like in the 70s and early 80s traffic light.

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Roundabouts don't have this problem I believe

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I've only seen the tilted flat panel LED signals on the Pacific Side of Tohoku - where they don't get much in the way of snow. On the Sea of Japan Side, there are transparent covers on each signal light, shaped to cause the snow to drop off them. There's probably some solar heating effect too.

Highway signals also have the same problem with the Aomori lights - any snow and it's goodbye to whatever message they were trying to show.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The simplest solution? Put back the old lights. In most circumstances the heat generated by the lights is wasted energy, which is why LEDs are better, but in Hokkaido the heat generated is necessary for their proper functioning, so it isn't a waste.

tapi0caFeb. 24, 2015 - 09:41AM JST However, much the same happens with them there libraries, that are built, tall, beautiful.. marvels of engineering, which suddenly start sinking an inch a year. The engineers forgot to account for the weight of the books.

That's not actually the same thing at all. The engineer is supposed to account for two types of weight when building a structure's foundations. Dead weight - the weight of the building, and Live weight - the weight of the desks, chairs, computers, books, and maximum number of people expected to be in the building at any time.

The sinking library isn't an unforseen factor, its a straight-forward case of incompetence and not following the rules you can find in any university textbook on structural engineering. It would be like building a bridge without accounting for the weight of cars traveling across it.

ClippetyClopFeb. 24, 2015 - 11:44AM JST Roundabouts don't have this problem I believe

Ever tried a roundabout when there's ice on the ground? I do not recommend it. You're turning and the car just keeps on going.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

LED-great idea, but not for all seasons. Full employment policy would put blue uniformed people changing the lights twice a year.Another reason to keep nuclear energy a preferred resource in the snow country.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Moving signals = Ten times the trouble, mechanical systems are much more prone to failures than electrical ones. Library story sounds implausible if it's in Japan. I work with structural engineering and there are pretty clear and commonly known guidelines for designing libraries or other buildings with heavy equipment, it's entered into the calculations from day one. This sounds more like a soil issue.

I find it hard to believe Aomori prefectural government didn't do a live test over several years prior to splashing out on these traffic lights.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Frungy

Ever tried a roundabout when there's ice on the ground? I do not recommend it. You're turning and the car just keeps on going.>

Then I suggest we do away with corners too. Incompetent driving shouldn't get in the way of progress. Roundabouts are a proven way of easing traffic congestion. The answer in Japan still seems to be more traffic lights and more constricted lanes.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Install heaters that come on when a sensor detects snow/ice.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

LOL!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

First world problems

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Actually, forget everything I just said, roundabouts would cause carnage in Japan. More traffic lights please :)

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Simple: parallel linear resistive conductors in or on the glass, like cars nowadays have for their backglass or side mirrors. What happened to the innovative spirit in this country?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Jeff I was just about surest the same sort of thing, it would not take up a lot of electricity. combined with a steep pitched roof, job done as they say!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

ClippetyClopFeb. 24, 2015 - 01:18PM JST Then I suggest we do away with corners too. Incompetent driving shouldn't get in the way of progress. Roundabouts are a proven way of easing traffic congestion. The answer in Japan still seems to be more traffic lights and more constricted lanes.

What you fail to grasp is that roundabouts need a lot of space - something that is in short supply in Japan. As a result when they do build roundabouts in Japan you tend to need to turn very sharply because they're much smaller.

This isn't a question of incompetent drivers, this is the simple reality of combining very sharp turns with ice on the ground. The two simply do not mix.

If you have a problem with the physics of the universe then I'd suggest you take it up with God rather than trying to blame drivers.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Hydrophobic coating the lens Never Wet. Or a defrost lines like the back of a car.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This isn't a question of incompetent drivers, this is the simple reality of combining very sharp turns with ice on the ground. The two simply do not mix.

Common sense suggests that one should be going at a very slow speed when entering, turning in or exiting a roundabout. This holds even more true when driving in winter when the potential for icy conditions exist. In fact, this holds true for the corners in the road that ClippetyClop speaks of.

If you have a problem with the physics of the universe then I'd suggest you take it up with God

Good advice that you might want to consider yourself as you seem to be unaware that you should drive with extreme caution during the winter months in a roundabout, when turning corners and actually when driving in general, especially in icy or wintery conditions.

As to removing the snow, hiring more workers would lower the unemployment rate, at least during the winter. Now that they have replaced the incandescent with LEDs, it would certainly be more of a waste of money to again replace the LED lights back to incadescent lights again. If they have to spend money on the problem, better that the money goes to people who need work.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Common sense suggests that one should be going at a very slow speed when entering, turning in or exiting a roundabout. This holds even more true when driving in winter when the potential for icy conditions exist. In fact, this holds true for the corners in the road that ClippetyClop speaks of.

The first two words of your post expose the flaw in your reasoning.

As for the snowy traffic lights... Mini-traffic light wipers! When snow starts falling heavily, the central traffic control operations center sends out the commands to start-up the wipers. This has the advantage of clearing even the yellow lights, which aren't on long enough during a normal cycle to heat up even if you're using the incandescent lamps.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This is what happens when the government doesn't ask the opinion of engineers that knows what they are doing...

Unfortunate is type of thing seems to happen too much in Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The first two words of your post expose the flaw in your reasoning.

Good point. There certainly does seem to be a lack of common sense.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's not as if this were a new issue. Note the date:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/12/16/led-traffic-lights-that-c_n_393769.html

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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