Germany installs traffic lights to represent local culture


(WFLA) — Germany has always been a frontrunner when it comes to traffic.

They have already installed blinking lights along pedestrian walkways just before the street. This is to prevent people walking into traffic while looking at their cell phones.

Now in Germany, you will see more traffic lights that represent the culture or history of an area.

For example, one light design has a miner on it to represent the area’s history of being a miner town. Another recently debuted with a puppet. It represents the famous “Punch and Judy” days and the town’s famous puppet theater. And there are two women together for representation of a predominately gay area on another design as seen in Munich. Another area has a beloved cartoon character from the 1960’s.

So the question arises, would people be more willing to pay attention to the light if it were different, and perhaps represented their area?

WFLA traffic reporter Leslee Lacey headed out to pedestrian-friendly Hyde Park to get feedback from pedestrians. Jack Moore is from Bradenton. He believes walking while distracted is a growing issue.

“I’ve definitely seen people bump into stuff. I saw someone walk into a pole once,” he said.

He and other pedestrians admitted they also look at the traffic light and not the pedestrian light. We showed him some pictures of the German pedestrian lights. Moore says he would probably look at the light, if it was different.

He and most of the pedestrians we spoke with in Hyde Park said they liked the idea of cultural representation. So we brought the notion to the City of Tampa. Transportation Director Jean Duncan said that although city officials may like the idea, they would not be able to implement it.

“Unless something like you are seeing in Germany is researched and endorsed by the Federal Highway Administration, we don’t have the ability to utilize those innovative techniques you see in Germany,” Duncan said.

That is because the city follows the guidelines of the FHA when it comes to traffic control devices. If they went against those guidelines, it could affect some of the funding they receive, says Duncan.

Leslee will be checking with the FHA to see if any research has been completed with some of the traffic ideas being utilized from Germany and will let you know what she finds.STORIES OTHERS ARE CLICKING ON-


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