Traffic Safety and Technology

In a previous career I worked as a project manager for a U.S. Air Force/Department of Transportation program to develop a video “black box” for aircraft. My team received a patent for our efforts. As part of my research for the project, I studied seven years of aviation accident reports, making me a great person to sit next to nervous fliers, but I also attended a few general transportation safety conferences.

One complaint that my color-blind father has is that horizontally-mounted traffic signals can be confusing to someone who cannot distinguish between red and green. I had an idea a year or two ago that, since most new traffic lights are LEDs, putting the bulbs into different shapes for red (octagon), yellow (diamond), and green (circle) would make the signals easier for everyone to recognize. Dave Delisle of davesgeekyideas.com seems to have had a similar idea at around the same time, so I’d like to give him credit. I modified one of his graphics to illustrate how a horizontal version of his concept would look:

It seems to me that this would be relatively inexpensive to implement, if the legislation only required new bulbs after a certain date to meet this standard.

 

I have a confession to make: I’m a nerd. Some of my friends call themselves geeks, but in an era when a Miss USA can call herself a geek, I don’t feel like the term applies to me any longer. I read science fiction. I play HackMaster, a fantasy role playing game similar to Dungeons & Dragons. I almost certainly had my Amazon Kindle and Android phone before you did. I had an America Online account before it was America Online–and they were my third ISP. I am confident that, if elected, I would be one of the most technically savvy members of Congress. As such, I could try to make my colleagues understand why the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) would be devastating to the U.S. economy–and likely wouldn’t even put a speed bump in the way of piracy–and I could help bring technological solutions to pressing national and international problems to their attention.

Thanks for reading. Monday nights are my weekly game nights, so if I have a post tomorrow, it will be very late.

Topher

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