Dutch city of Groningen councillor Karin Dekker activated the first rain sensor in the city with the highest bike modal share in the world. The sensor measures rain and snow. If precipitation is measured, the traffic light cycle changes, so that cyclists get green lights more often. If the test is successful, more bicycle friendly traffic lights will follow in 2012. The rain sensor is already implemented in the Dutch province of Noord-Brabant.
When it is raining ánd the temperature is below +10 degrees or with minimal car traffic, cyclists get two or three times the green light instead of only once.
Now in order to have green lights for cyclists, you need traffic lights for cyclists first. Common in places with many cyclists (and likely an extra headache for traffic light programmers), we don’t have them in Ottawa (yet). Anxious to see how they look? The pic on the left is an image of a bike traffic light I took in Vienna, Austria in 2010. The brass blue box on the same pole as the light is designed for the visually impaired: a number of lines indicate how many lanes they are going to cross and if they can expect a street car track.
Source rain sensor story: Fietsberaad
The sign reads: Expect a curb, then a street car from the left, three lanes of traffic from the right and at the other end a street car from the right and last but not least another curb! Indeed, only nerds take pics of traffic signals while on holidays….