US 2736002 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Feb. 21, 1956 B. J. ORlEL 2,736,002
CONSTRUCTION OF IMPROVED TRAFFIC SIGNAL 7 LIGHT-TIME LAPSE INDICATOR Filed Sept. 2, 1952 s Sheets-Sheet 1 Tl f INVENTOR BENJAMIN J. ORIEL H Frql Feb. 21, 1956 B. J. ORIEL CONSTRUCTION OF IMPROVED TRAFFIC SIGNAL LIGHT-TIME LAPSE INDICATOR 3 Shqets-Sheet 2 Filed Sept. 2, 1952 INVENTOR BENJAMIN J ORIEL Feb. 21, 1956 B .1. ORIEL CONSTRUCTION OF IMPROVED TRAFFIC SIGNAL LIGHT-TIME LAPSE INDICATOR Filed Sept. 2, 1952 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 United States Patent CONSTRUCTION OF IMPROVED TRAFFIC SIGNAL LIGHT-TIME LAPSE INDICATOR Benjamin Oriel, New York, N. Y. Application September 2, 1952, Serial No. 307,508 1 Claim. (Cl. 340 -43) The uncertainty tends to cause a slowing down of traffic,
accidents, scattering of pedestrians and undue strains on vehicle braking system and also on drivers. Even when a Stop signal is displayed there is always uncertainty as to when the driver should prepare to move off and thereby assist in keeping trafficmoving at constant rate. 5
The primary object of the present invention has been to overcome and correct this condition. By the principle disclosed a pedestrian, for example, can determine the time remaining within which he may safely. traverse or cross an intersection, with the green or Go signal without the danger of being caught in the flowing stream of vehicular traffic released by an abrupt signal change. This warning feature likewise is of importance to drivers of vehicles approachingan intersection, permittingmotorists to modify their speed and thus avoid the necessity of making a quick stop upon a signal lightchangeJ The primary object of my invention is to provide in a device of this order improved means for indicating automatically at all times the relative time period available within which a given signal should be obeyed to insure eflicient trafiic movement with safety. I,
It is an object of the invention to provide a traflic signalling device including my improved signal light timelapse indicating means which is adapted for independent trafiic control operation and which also may easily be coordinated with the operation of standard trafiic light systems.
-A further object of the invention is toprovide a trafiic control signalling device which is of relativelysimple, inexpensive construction, for announcing forthcoming ,signal changes, respectively, indicating the comparative amount of time during which the green traflic light may be expected to remain on display, so that a person on foot or driving a vehicle may enter an intersection with reasonable certainty of his ability tojcompletely traverse the intersection before the next change of color of traffic signal. W
A feature of my invention is the novel combination of a trafiic signal in which means are provided for'indicating the status of the signal display by constant illumination of an appropriate colored light means, duringieach signal light control period, i. e.:..Go, Caution and Stop, together with means for automatically indicating the time period remaining before the next change of color.
The distinctive feature of the present invention resides in its unique construction by, means of which, during diiferent periods, illuminable signelements of different colors are selectively illuminated and displayedwin aunique 2,736,092 Patented Feb. 21, 1956 manner to clearly show when the next change of traffic light will occur displaying a signal light effect of a different color.
Most trafiiccontrol signal units in use at the present time are of a relatively standard type, embodying the signal lights themselves and an .electriccontroller for energizing themat predetermined periods. The signal lights are installed either at the street corners, or in some instances, a single four-way light unit is suspended at the center of the intersection. Four wires usually are strung from a signal controller, which may be located at a remote point, to the signal units; three of these wires usually are individual to the three respective lights, red, amber, and
green, and the fourth wire common to all. usually are operated upon 110 volt potential.
The object of theinvention is to provide an improved time-lapse indicator unit operable in conjunction with such a signal light system, deriving its current from wires leading to the signals from the control box and deriving its primary control from the primary signal controller. The specific means for maintaining synchronism between the operation of an auxiliary time indicating device and the signal light unit, either when the light unit be controlled automatically from the primary control, or manually, as by a traflic officer, are known to skilled in the art, and, therefore, form no part of my present in- The systems vention and no further disclosure of these features need be made herein.
The preferred embodiment of the invention comprises a casing which is arranged for mounting upon the framework of the signal light unit itself, or adjacent thereof; if there be four signal lights, i. e.: one for each opposite direction of'traffic, an indicator unit is provided at each one, and if there be a single signal light at the center of the intersection, the indicator unit may be provided with four dials, each visible from a given direction. The casing of the invention, comprising the indicator unit is arranged also for mounting adjacent or upon the framework of pedestrian control units which are provided with Walk and Dont Walk signs postedat curbs of an intersection on independent standards and operating in conjunction with the signal light system installed at an intersection.
In its more detailed nature the invention resides in the provision of a Go signal light of green color, displayed in form of an illuminated arcuate band, and having a time interval representing the time allotted to pedestrians and vehicular traffic to effect the crossing'of an intersection in a given direction, and a Stop signal light of red color, also displayed in form of an illuminated arcuate band, and having a time, interval representing the period during which the flow of vehicular and pedestrian trafiic should stop, and a Caution signal light of amber or yellow color, also displayed in form of an illuminated arcuate band, having a short time interval intermediate t o the Stop and 60 signal lights,- and announcing that it is unsafe to further attempt crossing onfoot or in signal, and mechanical meansefi'ective during each of said intervals to gradually block out the parallelly displayedlight of corresponding color, which is also displayed in form of an illuminated arcuate band, having similar, degree-extent like the synchronously illuminated parallelly displayed arcuate band of similar color representing' the time interval of the signal which is on during a given period of operation of one of differently colored trafiic lights; the continually increasing blocked out part representing the portion of the time interval that has been spent. The part uneffected by mechanical means, representing the length-extent corresponding to the constant interval predeterminedfor the green, or red,
or amber signal light, which is on, whereby, since the indicator in accordance with the invention operates in conjunction with the trafiic lights, the said blocked out portion may designate the elapsed period of time since the last signal change, and the said unblocked portion thereof, when compared with parallelly illuminated con stant length are of corresponding color, may designate the comparative amount or interval of time remaining before the next signal change.
With these and other objects in view, which will more fully appear, the nature of the invention will be more clearly understood by following the description, the appendent claim, and the several views illustrated in the accompanying drawings, in which is exemplified the construction of an indicator unit operable in conjunction with trafiic lights, when, forexample, the time division between Stop, Go, and Caution periods has been predetermined, so that there is provided 45% for Go or green signal, 5% for Caution or amber signal, and
50% for Stop or red signal, during one total cycle of operation of all differently colored trafiic lights.
In the preferred construction of my device, I provide a casing of suitable form within which are positioned, side by side, two series or sets of three concentrically arranged arcuate illuminable sign elements. The first of i said sets comprised of three sign elements of different radii, differently colored to indicate, respectively, Stop, G0, and Caution, and subtending angles corresponding to the time division between Stop, Go, and Caution periods, are peripherally disposed, viz. first within 1 the periphery of said casing. The other or second set, comprised of three concentrically arranged arcuate illuminable sign elements of different radii, and of colors corresponding respectively to the colors of the sign elements of the first said set, being offset radially from said 2' sign elements of the first set and subtending respectively angles corresponding to the angles substended by said first set of sign elements, the corresponding angles of the two sets of sign elements being superposed one upon the other, so that the alike colored members of said both sets of concentrically arranged arcuate illuminable sign elements, which are offset radially one from other, have similar degree-extent. The arrangement of all diiferentiy colored members of said both sets, within the periphery of the casing of an indicator unit, being such, that although they are positioned each at a different radius from the center of the casing, the left end of each said illuminable arcuate sign elements is coordinated, since according to the method applied for construction of my device, they are spaced one of other and extending from a different level of a coordination radius from the center of the casing. Within the casing and positioned centrally therewith is a suitable motor means, having a drive shaft, the said means may be a clock mechanism, synchronous motor or other means adapted to provide a uniform rotation of said drive shaft at a predetermined speed. An opaque circular or disk-like shaped shutter is carried by the drive shaft of the motor means and is adapted to be rotated thereby. The diameter of the revoluble shutter is such that the three inner, arcuateilluminable sign elements, viz. members of said second set, interiorly disposed within the casing, are masked thereby. The circular shutter which is revolvable in front of these said three arcuate formed sign elements, is provided with three suitably positioned arcuate slots, cooperating with the said three sign elements of the second set, which during a revolution of the shutter are adapted to selectively expose the said illuminable sign elements and to cover and uncover them in sequential order, during their period of illumination, to extents determined by the position of the revolvable shutter rotated in clockwise direction. The three other arcuate formed sign elements belonging to the said first set preferably are positioned, side by side, just beyond the outside periphery or diameter of the said shutter and in plain view of an observer. Since, according to the construction the indicator unit is operable in conjunction with a trafiic signal light system, deriving its current from the wires leading to the signals from the control box installed at an intersection and deriving its primary control from the primary signal controller, thus are provided means for selectively illuminating the said in color and degree extent corresponding arcuate illuminable elements of each set for periods corresponding to their subtended angles. The speed of the drive shaft, of aforesaid motor means, once being synchronized with the primary controller timing, so that the shutter is driven through one total cycle of movement during the completion of three consecutive intervals in which once the green, amber, and red traffic lights are energized, are the electric drive means, for rotating the shutter of the indicator unit, being in circuit connection with the green, amber, and red signal light. Thus, the indicator unit is provided with means, for selectively illuminating the said corresponding elements of each set for periods corresponding to their subtended angles, and for synchronously moving the shutter to selectively cover and uncover portions of the sign elements of the said second set dun ing their operation periods.
In operation of my device, the primary signal, for example, Go, Caution, or Stop is indicated by the illumination and the continued display, during a predetermined period, of the required color, viz: Green, Amber, or Red. Simultaneously, through one of the slots in the revolving shutter, the corresponding color illumination is displayed as an arcuate band, which due to the timed rotation of the shutter, is gradually reduced in length thereby indicating elapsed time and accordingly showing the time remaining before a signal change. In operation then, it will be understood, that the elapsed time for different periods may be ascertained by comparing the constant length arcs of the first set, with the uncovered lengths of the arcs of the second set of said selectively illuminated sign elements of the invented timelapse indicator for use with traffic lights. The dial, according to the construction of my invention, being such that it will show at a glance the comparative amount of time period remaining in which Green, or Amber or Red light will be illuminated before a change of color of traffic signal will take place.
When one signal is longer than the others, appropriate ratio of degree extent of corresponding arcuate slot of revoluble shutter, and therewith corresponding the illuminable arcuate sign element is incorporated, whereby the ratio of degree extent of other two slots and therewith corresponding illuminable arcuate sign elements will be reduced relatively according to the percentage predetermined for splits of the total cycle of operation of diiferently colored trafiic signal lights, corresponding to the time division between Stop, Go, and Caution periods; and when the total cycle is shorter the driving speed, of the shaft of motor means applied, for revolving the shutter, is to be either accelerated or retarded through appropriate adjustable variable speed driving means thereof, the details of which form no part of this invention.
It will be understood that my device, While adapted to be used independently may also be coordinated with traflic signal means presently in use and so synchronized with the functions thereof as to afford the novel advantages of my operating principle.
The foregoing and other objects and the advantages of my invention will be apparent from the detailed description herewith when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:
Fig. 1 is a front elevation of the preferred form of my device.
Fig. 2 is a side transverse elevation of Fig. l, partly in section.
Fig. 3 is a front elevation of a trafic signal light unit upon which is mounted my device for operation in cooperation therewith.
Fig. 4vand Fig. 5, and also Fig. 1 and Fig. 3, are front views of my device in different traflic signalling positions as indicated by the rotary shutter.
Fig. 6 shows schematically a wiring diagram in which the operation of my device is synchronized with the functions of a standard type of traffic signal unit.
Figs. 7-9 are views similar to Figs. 3-5, respectively, but on a larger scale.
Referring to the drawings, 2 is a suitable casing in the center of which is a rotary drive shaft 4, upon which is mounted for rotation thereby a circular shutter 3, having formed therein arcuate slots 5, 6, and 7. Mounted within the casing is a plate 14, which carries a suitable motor means 15, which may be a clock mechanism, synchronous motor, or other, provided with variable speed adjustable driving means (not shown) suitable for driving the shaft 4, thereof, at the desired predetermintd speed, and which shaft projects forwardly through the plate 14. The shutter 3, carried by the shaft 4, is positioned forward of and spaced from the outer surface of the plate 14, and secured thereto in any suitable, well known manner is a series of six arcuate, concentrically arranged, illuminable sign elements in two groups of three each designated as 8, 9 and 10 and 11, 12 and 13, the complete series preferably being positioned, as shown, substantially in the form of a crescent. It will be noted that three of fliese elements, 8, 9 and 10, are adapted to be brought into registry with the arcuate slots 5, 6 and 7, carried by the rotary shutter 3, the other'three arcuate sign elementsbeing positioned beyond the periphcry of the said shutter.
To clearly understand the operation of my invention reference is made to Fig. 1, which shows a front view of my device as it appears to an observer when the trafiic signal Go is indicated by Green color of the illuminated arcuate elements 8 and 11. During this cycle and until the next trafiic signal change, element 11, presents a continuous, illuminated arcuate band of green color. The sign element 8 which is simultaneously illuminated, is observable through the arcuate slot 5, in the rotating shutter 3, when the said slot is in registry therewith. As indicated in Fig. 1, due to the rotary progress of the shutter 3, in clockwise direction, as indicated by the arrow, only about a half of the illuminated arcuate element 8, remains visible thereby indicating the period of time which has elapsed since the start of the signal and the time remaining within which to obey the signal. When the rotation of the shutter has advanced sufficiently to completely mask the arcuate sign element 8, its illumination and that of sign element 11 are extinguished. As indicated in Fig. 4, the arcuate sign element 9, now exposed through the shutter slot 6, and the arcuate sign element 12 simultaneously become illuminated to display, for example a Caution signal, by showing an Amber colored light. During the Cantion period and until the next signal change, the arcuate sign element 12, presents an unobstructed band of amber colored light. The duration of the remaining Caution" period is indicated by noting that portion of the illuminated sign element 9, not yet masked by the rotating shutter 3. Immediately upon the complete masking of the sign element 9, at the end of the caution period, its illumination and that of the sign element 12, is extinguished. Immediately thereupon, sign element 13, and sign element 10, become illuminated, showing the color Red or Stop signal. Throughout this cycle, the arcuate sign element 13, presents an uninterrupted, illuminated band of red color. The red illumination of sign element 10, however, due to the rotation of the shutter 3, gradually becomes, apparently, shorter thereby indicating the time which has elapsed since the start of the signal and the time remaining before the next signal change.
In Fig. 3, is shown a standard type of traflic signal light unit 17, having illuminable sign elements 18, of red color; .19., of amber color and 20, of green 'color adapted to indicate the usual Stop, Caution and Go signals. The unit 17, is shown as mounted upon a suitable post 'or standard carrying a tubular bracket 22, upon which in turn is carried my device, the casing 2, of which is suitably mounted upon the said bracket 22. Electric vice, the complete arcuate length or length-arc of element 8, is visible through slot 5, in the rotary shutter 3, as it appears at the beginning of the green light cycle, just after an interrupted red light cycle. The illumination of sign element 11, remains fully visible during the green traffic signal period, as has been explained herein, the illumination of sign element 8 is gradually masked by the progressive, clockwise rotation of the shutter 3, the portion not yet masked by the moving shutter indicating the time remaining before the next signal change. In Fig. 4, my device is shown immediately following the completion of the Green or Go cycle, the green illumination of sign elements having been extinguished. At this instant sign elements 12 and 9 have become illuminated displaying the Amber color indicating Caution. The illumination of sign element 9, visible through the slot 6, in the shutter is progressively masked as the shutter rotates, showing as previously described, the time portion of the caution period which has elapsed and the time remaining before the next signal change. As will now be understood, when the moving shutter has completely masked the sign element 9, at the end of the caution period its illumination and that of sign element 12 is extinguished and, as shown in Fig. 5, the next trafiic signal, i. e.: Stop is indicated by the illumination of the sign elements 10 and 13, and the color Red. The illuminated Red sign element 13, remains fully visible during the full stop cycle but the illumination of the sign element 10, visible through the arcuate slot 7, is progressively masked by the moving shutter 3, the extent to which the illumination has been masked indicating at all times that portion of the cycle remaining before the next trafiic signal change.
In Fig. 6 is schematically shown a wiring diagram such as may be employed in the operation of my inven tion. The illuminable sign elements 25, 26 and 27 represent the signal means of the usual trafiic control device. A primary controller 28 of well known type governs the operation of signal or sign elements to afford timed sequence the trafiic control indications by the light means 25, 26 and 27, to which electric current is respectively conveyed by the wires 29, 30 and 31 leading from the control means 28. For simplification of illustration, each of these sign signals is shown as in series with two of arcuate sign elements of similar color and trafiic signal designation of my device. For example, sign element 25, is connected by wires 32, 33 and 34 with the arcuate sign elements of similar color, 13 and 10 of my device. Sign element 26, is connected by wires 35, 36 and 37 with the arcuate sign elements 12 and 9, and the sign or signal element 27, is connected by wires 38, 39 and 40 with the arcuatesign elements 11 and 8 of my unit. To complete the circuit wire 41, is connected by the leads or conductors 42, 43, 44, 45, 46 and 47, to the opposite terminal of each of the six arcuate sign elements, as shown, and to the power source terminal 48, the other power terminal 49 being connected with controller means 28, by wire 50. From this it will be seen that upon the illumination of one of the signal elements 25, 26 and 27, the two arcuate sign elements with which it is connected in series will also become illuminated. For example, when element 25 is illuminated, indicating Stop by the color Red the arcuate sign elements 10 and 13, will simultaneously be illuminated to display Red. That is, the two sets of sign elements function together and inunison. As has been fully illustrated and described herein, in the operation of my invention each of the three arcuate sign elements 11, 12 and 13 are so positioned as to be clearly visible throughout their full arcuate length or length-arcs when illuminated and said visibility continues during the complete given tra'lr'iic control light cycle. As also fully illustrated and described herein, the three other arcuate sign elements 8, 9 and 10 of my device are positioned behind the circular, revoluble shutter 3 which is provided with three arcuate slots 5, 6 and 7 which, as the shutter 3 rotates are adapted to selectively cover and uncover or expose the illuminated colored arcuate band of each of the said arcuate, differently colored illuminable sign elements upon their being energized to indicate a trailic control signal simultaneously with a similarly colored tradic control light signal being displayed by one of the sign elements 11, 12 or 13. in Fig. 6, the circular revoluble shutter 3, has been removed from the drive shaft of the motor means 15, to more clearly show the sign elements 8, 9 and 10 positioned below same. Treferably 15 is a synchronous type motor and as shown, is connected to the source of electric energy by the wires 51 and 52 and hence adapted to operate when the traffic control light system is energized. As has been explained, important function of my revoluble and rotating shutter 3, is to simultaneously display through one of the arcuate slots therein an illuminated sign element of color similar to signal that being displayed by one of the signal light elements 25, 26 or 27 and one of the sign elements 11, 12 or 13 of my device, and wherein the illuminated color signal being displayed through the arcuate slots in the shutter and thereby indicates the relative amount of time which has elapsed since the start of the cycle and also the relative amount of time remaining before the next traffic signal change.
From the above it will be seen that I provide a unique simple method of and the means for improving vehicular and pedestrian trafiic control. The device is adapted to be operated automatically and may function as an indeendent traffic control means, or it may be coordinated to operate in synchrony with other types of traific signal lights controlling units bringing to the traffic control at intersections the operational advantages of the improved principle herein disclosed.
While the foregoing specification sets forth the invention in specific terms, it is to be understood changes in structural design and operative elements may be resorted to without departing from the spirit and scope of my invention, as claimed.
A traffic signal indicating Stop and Go periods and the elapsed time remaining for each period comprising a set of at least two concentrically arranged arcuate illuminable sign elements of different radii, differently colored to indicate respectively Stop and Go and subtending angles corresponding to the time division between Stop and G01 periods, a second set of at least two concentrically arranged arcuate illuminable sign elements of different radii, of colors corresponding respectively to the colors of the sign elements of the first set, offset radially from said sign elements or" the first set and subtending respectively angles corresponding to the angles subtended by said first sign elements, the corresponding angles of the two sets of sign elements being superposed one upon the other, a revoluble shutter overlying only the second set of sign elements and having at least two slots therein cooperating respectively with the sign elements of the second set to cover and uncover them to extents determined by the position of the revoluble shutter and means for selectively illuminating corresponding elements of each set for periods corresponding to their subtended angles and synchronously moving the shutter to selectively cover and uncover portions of the sign element of the second set, whereby the elapsed time for the ditlerent periods may be ascertained by comparing the constant length arcs of the first set with the uncovered lengths of the arcs or the second set.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,021,954 Campion "Nov. 26, 1935 2,049,002 Ebert July 28, 1936 2,064,211 McClure Dec. 15, 1936 2,119,049 Glafcke May 31, 1938 2,264,253 Steiber Nov. 25, 1941 2,526,442 Winn Oct. 17, 1950 FOREIGN PATENTS 396,120 Great Britain Aug. 3, 1933