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Why are there so many different types and sequences of left-turn signals?

Issue:A reader asked this, wondering why not only are there various ways green arrows are used — at the beginning, middle and after a green light, as well as flashing yellow arrows during the entire green light.

'The use of arrows on traffic lights is unpredictable,' he wrote. 'Why can't there be more liberal use of yellow arrows to help keep traffic moving, especially during non-rush-hour times?

Status:City and DOT officials said traffic lights have come a long way from the days when they were on a timer to reflect the rush-hour and non-rush-hour traffic.

Randy Michelz, the city's traffic and electrical superintendent, and DOT spokesperson Michael Pyritz explained that most of the heavier traffic roads now have signals that are controlled by a sophisticated system of in-ground and above-ground sensors that can not only detect the traffic at that light, but also can predict the traffic volume at the next signaled intersection.

'Having flashing yellow lights on all the time would not work at all intersections,' Pyritz said, 'especially in the case of an intersection that has multiple left-turn lanes. That could cause problems.'

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