Controlling Traffic Lights

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.


Posted on Mon Apr 16, 2007


In my entire lifetime, I have only come across one traffic light where the pedestrian button actually does something. Not sure if it's still functional but it was in London, UK. It was for a pedestrian crossing to Hyde Park. When you click it, the lights for the cars turn red within a few seconds and peds get to walk. The feeling of total control was amazingly satisfying =P
Posted by Sage  on  Thu Jul 30, 2009  at  05:30 PM
The pedestrian button generally adds time to the light so that the pedestrian can safely cross (without having to run) before the light changes. Here, the ped buttons have no effect on causing the light to turn green sooner. This is useful when a busy road intersects a smaller road. With the smaller road, the light stays green for about 5-10 seconds, just enough time for one or two cars to pass. Where if you press the ped button it adds an additional 10-15 seconds depending on the width of the intersection to be crossed. Also, the sensors here are triggered by an audible siren above a certain db, not by infrared or any other form of light. I've heard of people using train horns to trigger the emergency signal, but that attracts a lot of unwanted attention and it is illegal. Besides, it turns all 4 ways red, not green. It's fun to think about ways to foil the system, but these two videos are fake.
Posted by 16vjohn  in  Utah  on  Wed Aug 05, 2009  at  02:52 PM
Its an infra red transmitter that strobes at a set frequency, you can just got get a sine wave generator or a programmable chip and play with the frequencies, or you can get a passive infra red receiver and pick up the frequency off of a ambulance as it passes an intersection. some cities may have the same frequency if that did not change it from the manufacturers set mode, so have fun on road trips. some cities have more sophisticated systems but i'm not getting into that. Spend 5 minutes on google and you will find out how to make one. Dont be an idiot and assume that systems are foul proof, just man up and realize that shit aint that hard.
Posted by thor  in  chicago  on  Sun Dec 06, 2009  at  08:16 PM
In San Diego emergency vehicles are equipped with a strobe light. The majority of traffic lights are equipped with a photo sensor that recognizes the rate of flash of the strobe, turns that light green, and the others red.

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.
Posted by Jesse  in  San Diego  on  Wed Dec 09, 2009  at  03:33 PM
True the walk cross button will cause the light to change in Merced but it doesn't work on all of them.
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.
Posted by Neo  in  Merced,Ca  on  Thu Aug 19, 2010  at  05:17 PM
In my town's downtown, they have gotten rid of the buttons altogether. They still have the buttons at most intersections though.

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.
Posted by Northern Pyro  in  North Pole, AK  on  Sun Apr 28, 2013  at  12:02 PM
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