Here's a couple of YouTube videos on the subject of controlling traffic lights. The first video is for pedestrians. It claims that by clicking the walk button in a special way you can cause the traffic light to change in your favor. This secret code is: 3 short clicks, 2 long, 1 short, 2 long, and 3 short. Sounds like total baloney to me. Of course, if you live in New York City, many of the walk buttons have no effect whatsoever on the signal because they were disconnected decades ago.
This second video claims that it's possible to cause red lights to turn green by using a universal remote control. I'm more inclined to believe this is possible, since I know that emergency vehicles do have devices to change the lights to green. However, you would first have to locate the correct frequency, which would mean standing there with the remote on scan mode until it hits on the right one. Also, you'd need to know the correct code. (The video claims the code is 911.) Finally, would a typical remote control have a strong enough signal? Oh, and it would also be completely illegal.
As a birthday card I once received says, "I've learned that a Universal Remote Control does not, in fact, allow you to control the universe" (on the inside it says, "I was going to buy you a present, but believe me, you'd only be disappointed").
Of course, Hackers was a quality film so I believed everything they did 😉 :lol:
They're VERY illegal for the general public to own and operate.
The astonished looks on peoples faces still makes me laugh.
Our little bad joke on pedestrians.
For a moment I entertained a possible l33t-meaning of "3E7", but the resulting "eet" makes no sense too.
I do know these devices exist, but I doubt a universal remote would do the job unless you hacked it pretty good.
I still get my giggles watching college students hammer away at the buttons as if a dozen presses is going to work any better than one. Well, okay, those students that pay any attention whatsoever to crossing signals in the first place...
As for the emergency vehicle thing, it's highly doubtful that anything like infra-red signals would be used, and certainly not in the sequence of standard remotes, nor would a standard remote be powerful enough. They're intended to be activated from over a block away, and simply forcing a sudden green light (as supposedly demonstrated in the video) would be far more dangerous than just leaving the light alone in the first place.
And finally, I became aware of such a thing when I saw it in action at an intersection I'd used for years - in this case, it turned the lights in all directions red, halting all traffic through the intersection. Far more useful, especially if your emergency vehicle happens to be turning. Red lights in all directions means you can safely use the oncoming lane to go around the traffic halted at the lights, as needed. Having any light green means you're still requiring some drivers to both hear and heed the sirens.
"Red lights in all directions means you can safely use the oncoming lane to go around the traffic halted at the lights, as needed."
The ones here leave the light from the direction that the emergency vehicle is coming green. This is useful, because a lot of the roads here are divided, and the vehicle can't simply pull over into the oncoming traffic lane. Plus, there are often other roads leading into the area near the intersection that aren't controlled by the lights; if an ambulance simply pulled into the oncoming traffic lane, it would often be face to face with moving oncoming traffic. Which can be messy.
"This reminds me of The Italian Job, where one of the guys hacked into the traffic control computers to operate the traffic lights."
I think the writers of that movie stole that plot point from an old Superman TV show episode.
The lights that do have the automatic changing system have little photoreceptor things on them, so they must be receiving some sort of electromagnetic signal from the emergency vehicles.
Accipiter, I presume several siren sounds could be stored in a computer database which would still work. However, I was thinking about this after my post and realized that sound could bounce around too much in a city and get corrupted from other incidental noises. So, yeah, it's probably a light signal.
Reason: Emeregcy vehicles need free access on all the main streets in order to respond quickly. Ligh sensors (similar to the ones turning on streetlights when it gets dark) instantly reacts to the emergency vehicles highspeed blue/white flashing lights and initializes the "changing to red" for all other directions.
Not all intersections have this function though... In my town i guess its just along the regular respons routes. Over all something like 1 in 5 intersections
We do have several gated areas we run in as well, gates to businesses that require a passcode before the gate unlocks and rolls open. We roll up to those, and sound the siren and its supposed to open to that, although i have never actually had the need to run to any of those yet.
Also, everybody says this is totally illegal. What law says you can't carry a universal remote?
Of course a fine would indicate it was illegal activity, but what do I know?
dont beleive me? look up traffic lights and universal remotes on wikipedia.
the question is not will it work, it is rather what is the frequency...
for info on the two opticom systems.
The first uses infra-red and visible spectrum signals at various low frequencies indicating level of emergency, compressed on that frequency is ID information to validate the signal, such as a unique vehicle code, no they're not so stupid after all!!
The second system is newer and involves using GPS & secure radio communication to signal similar information to the controller. The main advantage here is that it doesn't need line of sight and it can handle multiple vehicle prioritization. In other words 3 fire trucks turning up at the same intersection.
As for using a universal remote, optical devices do exist that can prempt signals they are high intensity and are intigrated into the strobe systems of emergency vehicles. They flash at a coded rate with a different prefix code for each jurisdiction with additional coding down to individual trucks. If the code does not match exctly then the divice would have no effect. Additionally, the signal would have to be equipped with the opto reciever and most simply are not. Your odds of gettng any code to prempt even one intersection are next to 0. From a 26 year traffic tech.
If you are far enough away and your headlights are at the correct angle, you CAN change the light by flashing them. HOWEVER, if a police officer sees you do this you ARE going to get a ticket.
And lets face it, if a cop is coming up to a light and it changes because some moron is flashing his headlights, its going to be pretty damn obvious.
I have tried it several times on many different lights it usually works! As for the other ways they don't work! All of this is illegal.
One instance in particular, is one intersection that only shanges when there is traffic at the cross street, so I assume the button sends a request for a cross street green light, so peds can cross the street.
I think that most cross signal buttons do that in my town. They send a "green light" request that changes the signal in the pedestrians favor.