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Horizontal vs. Vertical Traffic Lights

63 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

Quick question.. would someone mind enlightening me as to why some areas of the country hang their traffic lights horizontal and some vertical?

Vertical:

TrafficLight1.jpg

Horizontal:

101-0134_IMG_resize.jpg

Funny:

traffic-light-hell.jpg

Is it purly aesthetics? Or is there a purpose for this? :unsure:

Edited by Dozer

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Posted

im not sure, but i like vertical better.

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Posted

I think all of ours in Richmond are vertical. I don't have a favorite and I have no idea why places do one or the other.

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Posted

I never seen a Horizontal light before.

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Posted

Horizontal is Texas style. I think they just wanted to be different. Maybe there's a better reason.

Otherwise, it sometimes is used to give more vertical clearance.

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Posted

The vertical lights that are attached to the mast instead of the overhanging arm always confuse me, although doing some driving in DC has gotten me a little more used to them.

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Posted

Pennsylvania Traffic Signals

This is not a standard PennDOT signal but i cringe everytime i pass through here. Cant this be improved???? This is along US 13 northbound in Bristol.

DSC00055.jpg

New Jersey Traffic Signals

New Jersey likes to be different by mounting traffic signals in the most random places ever! You will find horizontal traffic signals in the cities. Some cities, get to install their own traffic signals like this one in Camden along County Route 543.

DSC00067.jpg

Typical NJ standard traffic signal but usually, a green horizonal overhead is posted here since this is a state highway. I cannot name this road until "somebody" guesses this south jersey location over at Name this Jersey location.

DSC00067-1.jpg

District Of Columbia Traffic Signals

All of them are this standard as far as i know. This is US 1 Southbound getting close to 14th street

DCroadpic.jpg

Virginia Traffic Signals

Some states like Virginia allow cities (independant cities really) to install their own traffic signals as well.

Bedford along VA 43

55.jpg

South Boston along US 501 Southbound

North Carolina Traffic Signals

DSC00303.jpg

NCDOT new trend of traffic signals, this one is on US 15/501 northbound leaving Carthage

DSC00171.jpg

Flint Hill Church Road(?) i believe, heading into Trinity, Randolph County. It is unusual to see mast arm signals in NC outside of the city limits.

DSC00499.jpg

The cities have their own DOT's therefore, you will see traffic signals slightly different than the ones statewide. This is along South Boulveard going north in Charlotte

DSC00212.jpg

South Carolina Traffic Signals

SCDOT is beginning to use mast arm signals inside the city limits, especially in areas where they want to beautify the area. THis is on US 301 Northbound in Manning.

DSC00715.jpg

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Posted

Alot of places in florida use horizontal lights. I assume this is because of hurricanes and I imagine its more stable. This could be one reason for using vertical versus horizontal.

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Posted

Keepin it horizontal in Montclair, New Jersey!

186691886.jpg

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Posted

Just preference I would guess. I always was used to vertical out in Cali, so when we moved here to TX the horizontal was weird. I can't say I have a preference one way or the other though.

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Posted

Could it be a height limit on poles or mast. So the very bottom of a horizontal signal is just about the same height from the street surface as a verticle signal. Just that the horizontal is mounted on a shorter pole. Only a hypothesis.

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Posted

Michigan has vertically mounted traffic signals. Here in Grand Rapids, the traffic lights are ethier suspended on cables that cross the innersection diagonally or in area's like our DT they are mounted to decrative masts. New er and upgraded roads way out in 'exurbs feature traffic signals mounted to gray and very utiliarian masts.

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Posted

^I like their 4 way box at the wired span traffic signals indicating the turns that are allowed/not allowed.

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Posted

^they dont do that everywhere?

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Posted

Nope. Michigan is unique with most of their traffic signals providing the 4 way boxes (or this) as well as their Michigan Left Turns that have SLOWLY infiltrated the Tar Heel State.

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Posted

VERTICAL!! I nearly die everytime I drive through downtown Birmingham. It's always different at each intersection.

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Posted

I'm still tryin' to figure out that third picture. Why are some of the lights orange?

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Posted

my guess for the horizontal lights is that they're for places where part of the light fixture would be blocked from view. i've seen these in CT at one end of an underpass so that it's visible to cars that are on the other side, but still allowing for a certain amount of clearance below the light.

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Posted

My guess is that horizontal lights would survive better in periods of high winds, like a hurricane. (less exposed surface to the wind)

Vertical ones just look nicer, in my opinion. I don't think I've ever seen a horizontal stop light in Minnesota, although they are common in Omaha, NE.

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Posted

My guess is that horizontal lights would survive better in periods of high winds, like a hurricane. (less exposed surface to the wind)

it's the same surface area. the ones that are common around here are literally just the regular vertical once rotated 90 degrees.

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Posted

^ Yeah, but if they're suspended there from a metal pole they're not as....um......can't think of what to say...........strong as if they're turned sideways since you have the full metal arm to act as a foundation. Man that was really hard to write. :(

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Posted

^ Yeah, but if they're suspended there from a metal pole they're not as....um......can't think of what to say...........strong as if they're turned sideways since you have the full metal arm to act as a foundation. Man that was really hard to write. :(

i was thinking of the ones hanging from a wire. but if attached to a metal pole, i don't think you have to worry about them much at all regardless of orientation.

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Posted

Pure speculation to follow, but I'd guess that someone has done a study on it...

It would seem that vertical orientation has a greater impact on the thought process of the viewer. When red is at the top, we know that stopping is important. Likewise any additional turning arrows can be placed beside the vertical bank of lights already in an obvious place. For right turn lights, they will be on the right.

Is this why most people think the vertical ones look nicer?

btw All the traffic lights in Australia are vertical.

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Posted

Might it have anything to do with suburban or urban placement? Around here the verticals are in the inner city while the horizontal are out in the wide open places - suburbs.

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Posted

Here's an interesting traffic light setup in Pleasnton, CA

Haciendapleasantontrafficlights.jpg

Its a bit overkill. But I like how the lights are flush-mounted.

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