Blank-out Signs Improve Safety

Blank-out Signs Improve Safety

This piece was originally published in the July 2017 issue of electroindustry.

Mike McKay, Account Manager, SES America

Phoenix, Arizona, deployed a double warning system in the drop-off zone of a local school that is prone to high-volume vehicular congestion, especially in the morning.

A left-turn pocket at the school ground’s entrance clashes with a right turn lane from the other direction. These opposing lanes are often at odds, with drivers from both directions feverishly attempting to enter the drop zone first. The viable solution was to remove the free right turn, allowing all left-turn traffic to enter during a designated signal phase.

To implement this traffic control strategy, the city looked to light-emitting diodes (LEDs) equipped with sensor technology.

It deployed two 24-inch LED blank-out signs (i.e., signs that blank out or disappear) to signal “no right turn.” The first sign is timed to activate in tandem with the signal change to green for opposing traffic.

A second LED blank-out sign reinforced the new traffic control system and protected the only pedestrian crossing into the school grounds. In their attempt to be the first to enter the grounds, frantic drivers had endangered pedestrians.

Both signs were equipped with light sensors to seamlessly adjust to morning light conditions. The absence of a polycarbonate face provides better-than-average contrast for the intense desert sun. The signs are also maximized with complete 30-degree viewing angles, empowered by the calculations of a microprocessor that offers the appropriate lighting for the often-blinding sunset conditions in the Valley of the Sun.


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