Nov 18 2010GAAAAAAAH, WHY WON'T YOU TURN GREEN?!: Hourglass Stoplight Concept


The 'Sand Glass' stoplight concept by Thanva Tivawong counts down the sands of time until your light turns green so you know precisely when to neutral-drop your (roommate's) car and make a speedy getaway, leaving all the blue-hairs in your (roommate's) Civic's dust to squawk about "the kids these days". Oh yeah, grandma?! They should've taken your license away when you turned 200! Haha, that one always gets em -- really cuts em straight to the heart. Which -- how was I supposed to know she had a bad ticker?! Old lady? Old lady, can you hear me? *poking granny with a rolled-up newspaper* Oh -- did you hear that, all you witnesses? She clearly said, "Are you my grandson? Why don't you ever call?" Yep, still totally alive, folks. *blends into crowd*

Not working for the colorblind aside, there's one more shot of the stoplight's many faces after the jump, which I just noticed has identical designations for "about to turn green" and "about to turn red", rendering it the deadliest stoplight concept ever designed. Back to the drawing board, Thanva.


Sands Of Traffic Times! [yankodesign]
Life-Altering Traffic Light Design Concept of the Day []

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Reader Comments

This could turn ugly quick.
not only would it make street races easier but i can see people jumping the gun and going on 2

This is TOO CORNFUSING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111!!!111!!!one!!!!11!!!eleven!!!!!1!!!11

colorblind people would have huge problems with this.

Yes, I was thinking exactly the same thing as #4. I have a friend who's colorblind and he relies on the position of the lights when he drives.

@5 Well considering I've seen some lights where the red, yellow, green are in different positions than standard, I'm not sure your friend should be allowed on the roads.

They must find something else for the color blind.

I like it!
Mostly because it looks cool and futureish

@5 well he's got some practicing to do then!

The reason it is the way it is is because of colorblind people. I doubt it will change but I love this concept. Talk about a big step for change if that were to happen.

"Thanva Tivawong"

Just what we need. An Asian suggesting how to make driving a more pleasurable experience.

You can't have yellow twice, that'll just confuse people

In ten years when all cars are self-driving there will be no more traffic lights.

Cars will zoom full-speed thru intersections, missing other cars by inches. People will cross without looking and the robo-cars will avoid them.

Get used to it. Your kids will laugh if you flinch.

@6 I would hope that he's not fully colorblind, cause (assuming he's in the US) there are the lights that have only one light, one direction is yellow and the other is red, and different actions are required at both.

If he's red/green color blind, he can drive, since he can tell red and yellow apart, and there are only two configurations for him to learn (horizontal and vertical) to know which one is green.

Still, this light fucks with even only red/green colorblindness, so yeah.

What about just having a countdown timer next to the light, and have the light that's about to change flash a la the crosswalk signals with timers.

Fucking funny again GW..nabad holms.

"the sands of time until your light turns green so you know precisely when to neutral-drop your (roommate's) car and make a speedy getaway,"

I have a friend who is red/green colorblind. This will screw him. Also, having 2 "yellow" phases could confuse people. Am I slowing down for a green light?

You can't have it turn yellow twice (if you don't see what it turned yellow FROM, you have no idea what to do). Also, this is impossible for red green colorblind drivers to understand, which is the most common kind of color blindness.

Its a neat concept, just not feasible as described.

"What make it great for everyone"?


Doesn't anyone have a problem with a fact that the first thing it says is "What Make It Great For Everyone?" What does that mean? I'd say my answer is "Maybe."

Considering the colorblind, this really isn't a good concept.
Personaly I like it the way it is in Germany (and probably some other countries), where the "about to go green"-sign is simply both red and "yellow" lights being on.

this idea is great!

It's a great idea, if not original except in "hourglass" shape, but impractical because humans actually drive the cars.

1. there are no provisions for TWO yellow lights in traffic law, or common sense. when the red light is over...GO
2. the countdown red is jsut going to result in people starting to go before the light turns. you'll see this in any city where you can see the crosswalk light from the stoplight line. when the crosswalk turns red, people gun the light because it's about to turn green.

The countdown YELLOW actually makes a lot of sense, and should be fucking required. there's currently no standard for how long a light is yellow, so all you know is the light is going to turn red sometime soon, so everyone pedals to the floor...especially if there's stoplight cameras.

This design isnt great, Im glad someone else saw the fault with two yellows (I burst out loud when I saw this on Yanko) especially when they've already had the perfect traffic light design...

I bet this doesnt get as many post as cute girl eating oblong shaped food...

An hourglass is futuristic?

this would make great sense if only half of it was enacted. for example, from green, drops to yellow, then the entire thing turns red for the stop. having the red then count until you go, while seemingly more efficient, only lends to jackasses hitting the gas in preparation of the green and not accounting for oncoming traffic (you have to consider the human element of impatience). if it went from green to yellow to all red, and then back to green trickling down, only then would you be back in business.

it is a massive deficiency in the traffic system, to have a yellow light time frame that is not constant (or at least known, as in this idea) across all lights. this being the most critical light- since so many auto accidents are caused by people attempting to make the light without any idea of how long the yellow will last (and a few that make hard stops to avoid crossing into a red). if you knew how much time was left on a yellow, that would make a huge difference.

2 words: Traffic Circles

It's an ok concept, best to test this thing is a small town that can adapt to traffic changes due to the lack of traffic they have (and can budget such a thing). Hrm, with this concept in mind I wonder what else they test in small towns?

"2 words: Traffic Circles"

2 words: asian drivers.

all they have to do is instead of an hour glass (which doesn't work for the color-blind) just have 3 circles as it currently is. put the numbers inside whatever circle is lit. of course, just invert the colors from the concept when it comes to the numbers and you should get what I mean.

so, where's the regular GW? this writing is different and not nearly as funny. same for the next grouop of posts. unless the GW is on cold meds? but the style is different, younger, lamer. no offense, but could you bring back the real GW? is he on vacation? shacked up? in prison (finally)?


After he's done with spellcheck and basic research, this guy needs to look up the meaning of "interactive". This isn't it.

I bet this would cause some accidents as people try to get a speed boost like in mario kart at the end of the red light.

never gosh-damn happy are they? I swear they seem to be changing things like this just for the sake.

Louis of

Mtn Pew....spewed through my nose...all over my keyboard. I'm not easily amused (at least not by "others"), but THAT got me.

these concepts are interesting n all..

but who would implement something like this when 1 in 10 men in North America and Europe are COLORBLIND...

if your going to put this much thought into something, think about why it wouldn't work too....


"Obviously see how long to wait or be hurry for everyone, no more reading from number."

Yeah, obviously everyone should hurry through a yellow light rather than reading from a number. I mean, that's just common... wait, what?

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Yeah, bad idea. People will get it both wrong, and be overly impatient.

I do agree that yellow lights should all be the same length, but I think an actual counter on there isn't necessary.

Love it, but I think the yellow prep countdown after red would be confusing. Probably better to leave that out.

Thailand already has the count down.
its great, more relaxed when you know how long you have to wait for.

This will never work because then the government will have to admit that I'm actually waiting for 10 minutes at that damn light on the way back from work.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Here we had some lights with an additionnal count-down panel on their side. That didn't last long. Everyone used it like it was a race countdown, rushing off as soon as it hit 0, with total disregard of what was actually in front of them.

Why not just use the standard lights and flash them when the time to change them gets close. Then again, that's what the yellow light is for.


the reason is because a yellow light time frame is not constant and cannot be known. thus, you have people speeding up dangerously on a yellow light, or making a hard stop- because they don't know how much time is left on it. this leads to a lot of accidents. even a flashing light wouldn't necessarily tell you how much time you have left on the yellow. but a number of seconds on the light would let you know exactly if you have a chance to make it or not.

although i don't agree with counting the time left on a red- thats just inviting danger.

Simple Solution:

Put a single strip of lights to the right and/or left of our current stoplights. Make the strip "full" any time the lights change, and then slowly "empty" it in a timer-like fashion.


this would reduce traffic. i hate the jerk in the front that isn't paying attention or is an old person that has a 5 minute reaction time.

This is the most confusing crap Ive ever seen. Sure Let's double the 3 states of lights from 3 to 6. When you look at the light not only would you have to interpret the color you have to think "ok is the "sand" on the top or the bottom?" I for one don't want people trying to fucking figure that out while I'm sitting at a stop, and get rear ended. People already fuck that up enough as it is. Also, why would anyone want to alter one of the most commonly recognized conventions of the twentieth century? Green means go, Red is stop, yellow is caution. A child can tell you that.

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"What make it great for everyone?" engrish is awesome.

I was in the middle east and over there before the light turns green the yellow comes on with the red for about 1-2 seconds. It's awesome!

@60 It's the same in London. You get the yellow and red together for a second or two before take off. Blew me away when I first saw it - makes so much sense. Works really well too - you don't get so much horn action and congestion from people being caught unawares when it hits green. Everyone's ready for launch!

It's awesome for pedestrians too, as you can glean (most) traffic lights side-on. If you see the red/orange combo, you know to take a step back.

La idea es muy buena. Pero no consideraron a los daltónicos...
The idea is very good. But did not consider the colorblinds...

Además aquí en Argentina la luz amarilla se usa solo para preveer el final de la luz verde y el encendido de la luz roja.
Also here in Argentina the yellow light is used only to predict the final green light and red light on.

I think it's a cool idea, but also very unpractical ...

I'm speaking as a driver :)


I don't want to pay the licence fees to fund those things. The pixelised display, a special control board, and the cost of having to pay better skilled repair people adds up to a lot of money.

abit of a problem for colorblind ppl though

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