The ever growing number of vehicles on the road provides distinct evidence of urbanization and growth. But along with this positive side comes a negative implication. While it is true that not 100% of automobiles get involved in accidents, along with the increasing number of motor vehicles the number of traffic related mishaps have risen. In an urbanized place, it is not uncommon to see a traffic light quickly switch from red to green or from green to amber (orange or yellow in some devices). Traffic control has become automated in the last few decades. Although it means lesser jobs for traffic and safety policemen, it also means better chances of people following traffic rules.
Ever since the automation of the traffic signal, traffic management has become easier and better flowing. Highway traffic has benefited, too. In the latter case, traffic safety has been enhanced because of speed detectors and automated red light running detection. Lawbreakers and speeders that would not have been fined otherwise have become more wary and cautious of breaking traffic rules. The improvement of equipment and the making of better traffic plans have worked in decreasing the number of violations. Traffic safety has never been better. Certain government departments and agencies have helped improve flow, security, systems, etc. Vast changes have been made and some schemes have been changed to accommodate the increasing number of vehicles that flow in and out of cities, localities and even rural areas. One would find a case in point: in New York, after the installation of automated red light running detection program, there was a big 21% drop in traffic violations. So how can something automated have such a great impact on people?
There are different variations of traffic control. The most common ones that are seen are signs (board), road lines, islands (division between opposite lanes of vehicles), and traffic lights. The first one mentioned is easily understandable. Human sight translates a drawn sign, understands what it means and thus follows it. The second one, road lines, is also uncomplicated. A road line demarcates or delineates the allowable areas and lanes that a vehicle can occupy. And a road line shows where a car cannot go, cannot make a U-turn or overtake another vehicle. Islands do the same things.
Traffic lights involve a rather complicated automated system that relies on sensors and programs. There are basically two types: the first type of traffic light has fixed time. That means, the green light may be on for a minute and off for the next few minutes while the rest of the traffic lights turn green. There is a fixed time for every street meeting at an intersection. And there is the variable type of traffic light. The variable type of traffic light relies on sensors underground that detect the flow of traffic approaching the intersection. If traffic is heavy, the green light stays longer than it would if the traffic were light. Coupled with the traffic light are the speed detector and the red light running detector. The speed detector uses a device that registers the speed of an oncoming vehicle. The latter, the red light running detector uses cameras that capture vehicles' plates as they cross an intersection. The addition of this device was due to the rise in the number of crashes that occurred because of drivers beating the stoplight.
Overall, traffic control has improved so much that being mobile (whether walking or riding) has become a lot safer.