How Big Is A Traffic Light?

January 3, 2024
David Sunnyside

From a distance, traffic lights look no bigger than your average cereal box. But from the road, they’re often 18 ft. in the air and can weigh anywhere from 30 to 50 lbs. This article will explore how big a traffic light is, how they work, and the different factors that dictate their size and shape.

How Big Is A Traffic Light

Every state has different laws regarding how big a traffic light can be, including the lenses and where it should be placed on the intersection. The most common traffic lights have a three-light pattern with eight-inch lenses. They are approximately 30 inches tall and 9.5 inches wide. Each lens is about the size of an average human head.

Larger traffic lights are used in areas with high population density, as they allow people to easily see the signals from a greater distance. This helps reduce accidents and promotes an orderly flow of traffic. However, larger signals may be less efficient if they don’t have enough power to illuminate the entire area properly.

Some cities also use special traffic lights that allow emergency vehicles to pass through them. These are called “interruptible” traffic lights, and they can give priority to certain kinds of vehicles, such as fire trucks or ambulances. These lights are usually controlled by sensors, and they may emit radio waves or infrared signals to communicate with the vehicle.

Some states prefer the 12-inch traffic signal, which has more customizable features than the smaller one. However, both types have their pros and cons. For example, the 12-inch signal uses fewer pixels to show the same information, and it can be more durable than the 8-inch one.

David Sunnyside
Co-founder of Urban Splatter • Digital Marketer • Engineer • Meditator
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