Originally featured at Yanko Design, November 18, 2010

Innovation Spotlight: Can Traffic Lights Be Even More Informative - And Frustrating?

Designer Thanva Tivawong has come up with an innovative traffic light design that not only tells drivers whether to stop or go (or speed up before the yellow light changes!), but provides an indication of how much time they have to do any of those things.

Called "The Sand Glass," the concept incorporates LED lights in the shape of a familiar countdown hourglass. Traditional colors remain, but in Tivawong's version they would gradually fill the shape before transitioning to the next in the sequence.

While some obvious questions come up concerning those with color blindness (that's why traditional lights are always in the same red-yellow-green order) and safety (even MORE people racing to beat that yellow or jumping the gun as the red lights near completion), the design would provide us with an alternate traffic light activity to checking email and thumbing texts.

Too much information? Maybe not. Why shouldn't we be just as frustrated while waiting at a traffic light as we are while waiting for something to load on our computers?

Designer: Thanva Tivawong