Traffic Formulas

One important job that uses mathematics is a Civil Engineer — city planning, traffic flow, schedules, etc.  Here is a chart showing recommended durations for yellow lights, to allow drivers ample time to stop before the light turns red.  (Source:  Wall Street Journal).CSwVt7gUkAANYEu


Study the chart and then answer the following questions:

  1.  a) Why are their five different colored lines?  b) What do they each represent?  c) Why would that factor into the stopping time of a vehicle?
  2. Why do you think the speed used is “Speed Limit Plus 7?”
  3. What other factors might need to be considered for length of yellow lights?  Think of other factors that could affect stopping times of a vehicle — could stoplights be adjusted to account for those factors?

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