THE AVENUE DECEMBER 21, 2009
Our friends at Engadget picked up on an unfortunate engineering failure. See, the country has been slowly converting to a low-carbon future, something we here at the Avenue whole-heartedly endorse. However, we’re also pro-safety. And it looks like some developing traffic light technology won’t let us have both:
A number of cold weather American states are reporting their dismay at finding out that LED traffic lights are so energy efficient that they do not produce enough excess heat to dissipate any snow that covers them. It turns out, perhaps in a homage to bad engineering everywhere, that the inefficiency of incandescent light bulbs was previously relied upon to keep traffic signals unimpeded.
Ouch. While there’s definitely a bit of sad humor in this--you can almost hear the Simpsons’ scientist explaining his way out of it--there are real, long term implications for the country’s Snow Belt. Sure, Houston can expect to use this energy-efficient technology without hiccups, but that may not be the case for Minneapolis or Buffalo. Let’s hope the tech fix being worked on right now will come to market quickly. For assuredly, though we don’t know how many northern places purchased them, the replacement cost comes at a particularly bad time.