Traffic Lights that Work Even When the Power Doesn't

solar powered traffic lights istanbul photo

Photos from Today's Zaman (left) and BELBİM (right).

The obvious inconveniences aside, there's something to be said for living in a place where both random and rolling power outages occur with some frequency. It seems to foster neighborliness and camaraderie, as everyone gathers at a home that still has electricity or reminds themselves that a fun evening can actually be had without TV or the Internet. (We spent our last prolonged outage drinking wine, talking, and singing along as friends played guitar in the dark.)

But especially in a city with traffic as crazy as Istanbul's, a power outage can also throw the streets into dangerous disarray. A new pilot project has the potential to mitigate that problem, and it's environmentally friendly as well.
Already in use in Nodia, India; Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa; and other blackout-prone places, solar-powered LED traffic lights gather and store energy from the sun so they can function at night and during power outages. The first ones in Istanbul--a combined system of traffic lights, cameras, and sensors--have been installed at the city's Atatürk International Airport. BELBİM, the municipal company behind the project, promises the systems will be virtually maintenance-free and last for 20 years. If initial results are positive, all of the city's intersections may eventually be run by the sun. Via: "Solar energy to power traffic lights," Today's Zaman
More about ecofriendly traffic lights:
Fix those Traffic Lights to Reduce Congestion (And Emissions)
Traffic Lights Replaced By...Courtesy?
China's Innovative Traffic Lights: How China Is Already "Light" Years Ahead of the West
A Stop-Light Pendant Lamp
LED Traffic Lights Spread Berlin Cult Figure

Related Content on