# 277: Long Light

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 Long Light Title text: You can look at practically any part of anything manmade around you and think "some engineer was frustrated while designing this." It's a little human connection.

## Explanation

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## Transcript

[A man in a car, sitting at a red light.]
Man: This light always takes forever. I'd like to smack the idiot who designed this intersection.
[An engineer steps up onto the hood of the man's car.]
Engineer: Hi.
Man: Who the hell are you?
Engineer: I designed this intersection.
Engineer [arms spread outward] : You're right - I should have just made the light shorter! Never mind the hours of simulation and testing I did. Never mind that this intersection interacts with it's neighbors in a complicated way and it took me a week to work out timing sequences that avoided total jams.
Engineer: Clearly, I'm a crappy engineer and you have a better solution. Go on, show me your proposed timings.
Man: Get the hell off my hood before I start driving and fling you into traffic.
Engineer: You can't. Light's red.
Man: Well, when will it change?
Engineer: Tuesday.

# Discussion

The driver seems to know that the light always takes forever and yet there he is. Sometimes people get what they deserve. -- 99.234.144.69 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

when I'm at a long light like this, I don't blame the engineer of that light, I blame the city planner who decided to put that light at that intersection when a different system would have worked better (one that adjusts to time of day and/or uses sensors to notice that someone's waiting and there's no traffic). just sayin' 70.72.16.171 13:42, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

Not that 70.72.16.171 will necessarily see this, but there are traffic engineers, who design intersections (not only the types, number, and arrangement of individual signal assemblies and sensors in a given intersection, but also any timing or sensor-based relationship with other intersections and several other things not signal-related). I think the engineer in the comic is one of these traffic engineers (maybe that's what ...16.171 is calling a city planner?). It's not the one that designed the actual assembly of bulbs, lenses, circuits and housing that makes up a given "signal" - which would also no doubt be an engineer (somewhere in the civil/electrical area I might venture to guess)Brettpeirce (talk) 18:28, 18 February 2014 (UTC
I am a traffic engineer, and there are lots of reasons why intersections are designed as they are, and lots of reasons why they don't live up to expectations. Aside from the inherent difficulty of predicting traffic, there are issues centring around when the intersection was designed and when the user experiences it (this can be decades), the availability of data on the subject (in all but the densest/busiest areas most people would be surprised how little data there is, I think), and just the sheer expense of some "simple" solutions. For example, ...16.171's jurisdiction may not consider worth ~\$100 000 to put in a sensor just so the occasional driver who wants to turn left from a low-volume approach only waits 20 seconds instead of 60.108.162.219.102 22:27, 26 May 2015 (UTC)

108.162.250.203 06:44, 27 April 2014 (UTC)Doesn't mean Cueball can't reverse away to get the engineer off his . Unless it's a one-way street.

Or there's another behind him that we can't see because of reasons of artistic brevity. -Pennpenn 108.162.249.221 04:50, 6 February 2015 (UTC)

The biggest reason traffic lights are a pain is that they're money makers for the robber barons of a given area. A huge proportion of them impede traffic far more than, say, a roundabout would. But you can't really ticket people at a roundabout. Anyone who doubts that city planners are willing to make your life worse in order to make more money, think of how much evidence there is of traffic cameras causing more accidents instead of fewer, and yet because they're a cash bonanza the protection rackets keep expanding their use. — Kazvorpal (talk) 05:48, 1 November 2019 (UTC)

Wrong. Traffic lights and intersections are designed to ensure as free a flow of traffic as possible, while also keeping safety considerations in mind. RED LIGHT CAMERAS on the other hand, are designed as a cash cow for whatever local jurisdiction installs them. You are conflating the two, that is wrong. --The Cat Lady (talk) 14:47, 13 August 2021 (UTC)

The punchline gets funnier based on how far away you are from the forthcoming Tuesday. Only share this comic on Wednesdays. 108.162.216.71 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

LOLing right now as it's monday and I scrolled down to see when it was posted (Friday) 162.158.69.142 19:04, 24 October 2016 (UTC)

It looks like the engineer comes out of the bumper :)108.162.245.44 20:15, 10 November 2016 (UTC)