The Blinking Red Light

by

LED_traffic_light_on_red
Recently, there were severe thunderstorms that came through the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.  With these storms came the normal accompaniments to bad weather in North Texas:  overly caffeinated weatherman predicating doom and gloom, power outages, flight cancellations, flash floods and, the mother of all annoyances, blinking red lights (I’ll call them BRLs.)
We can put a man on the moon (or at least we used to be able to), computers that used to fill an entire room now fit on your fingernail, you can even get breakfast at Taco Bell, and yet stoplights still can’t deal with rain.  Why do they have to blink red?  Why can’t they just reset to their original program?  The coding has to be pretty simple:  turn green, then yellow, then red, repeat.  It would seem like my coffee maker at home is more sophisticated.
I get it when power is completely out and there are no lights at all.  But, presumably power has gone out and when it came back on the systems defaulted to BRL.  I did some research online and there is scant information on why the system can’t just power up to normal operating mode.  There was some chatter about how the lights are synced with one another or how they need “eyeballs” on the lights to make sure they are operating as they should, but I still don’t get it.

We spend an enormous amount of time and money creating things that will save us time and money.  But, it all comes down to the bottleneck in the operation.  I’m sure I am productive at work and have saved lots of time because of technological innovations, but the day these thunderstorms hit North Texas it took me an extra hour to get home from work – all because of Blinking Red Lights.

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