Everyone who takes to the road and drives a car knows the torture that is a traffic light. When the traffic light turns yellow and you are still in motion, you wonder if you can make the the light or you should stop. If you find yourself speeding up to make it past the light but accidently blow the red light, you anxiously look in your rearview mirror to make sure there was no cop waiting to trap a poor soul that makes that mistake. But if you find yourself being cautious and stopping much before the light turns red, there is always an impatient driver right behind you eagerly honking on their horn to let you know you could have made that light. Even when you are stopped at a red light, it seems like an eternity while you are waiting for the light to turn green. What if there was a device that could end this struggle that has afflicted us since we were sixteen years old? Well thanks to the creative genius that is Thanva Tivawong, that can all come to an end.
The designer Thanva Tivawong created a new form of traffic light. This innovation is called The Sand Glass Traffic Light. The Sand Glass still utilizes the green light, yellow light, and red light model that all drivers are used to seeing but with a very useful flare to the light. Drivers will now see an hourglass shaped light instead of a circular light. The light emulates exactly how an hourglass will work. The amount of light in the top section of the “hourglass” will decrease as time passes to fill up the bottom section with more light. The green light hourglass will also have a countdown to allow the driver to know exactly when the light is going to turn yellow. Most importantly, once the light turns yellow, there will be and hourglass shaped countdown to allow the driver to better judge if he or she should stop or keep driving to pass the light. This new design also has a red light that will let you know exactly when to expect a green light.
This seems like such an obvious design for a traffic light that you wonder why this wasn’t thought of sooner. However, it was Thanva Tivawong that came up with this design after over 100 years of having a traffic lights direct traffic. Tivawong was in “inspired by the traditional sand-filled hourglass and put together some concepts for redesigning the traffic light.” Tivawong utilized an analogy from the use and concept of an hourglass to what can be applied from the hourglass to a traffic light. This recognition of a problem where it was a common belief that there was none is indicative of a creative process, as dictated in the theories of Smith and Ward. Thanva has taken an everyday item that to many is only associated with three different colored circles and created a different form to make something novel.
The Sand Glass Traffic Light has not yet been seen in the United States. It has been first seen in Estonia, but given its universal use, it will hopefully be seen more commonly in more countries.
Thomas Bernard. Ward, and Steven M. Smith. Creative Cognition: Theory, Research and Applications. Cambridge, Mass: MIT, 1996. Print.