By Cooper Banks
What an ordeal it has been for Swedish electronics engineer Mats Jarlstrom. For the past five years, he’s been on a quest to make yellow traffic lights more relevant.
At first, no one listened to him. Then the “Powers That Be” sued him to try and make him shut up about it. Then they did start listening…
And then finally, this past Friday, the world’s top traffic engineers elected to actually adopt Jarlstrom’s ideas.
“The Institute of Transportation Engineers, which is an organization with members in 90 countries around the world, has adopted my extended kinematic equation developed back in 2015.”
Jarlstrom’s argument has always been a simple one. “The yellow light is too short”, he says. It’s what he’s been saying for half a decade.
In his quest, Jarlstrom has challenged decades of common practice.
Today, he has vindication, and he believes his groundbreaking equation will change things.
“They think it will be pretty dramatic”, Jarlstrom says, “traffic engineers have been doing something for such a long time and now they have something new to study and to learn.”
Jarlstrom says it’s personally quite gratifying, but he says it’s a little overwhelming when he stops to think about the likely impact of his work.
“So that is a little bit of a driving force, really, to see that I can change the world in this way.”
Jarlstrom says there is still a little more work to be done, but he hopes to work with ODOT to bring yellow light changes to Oregon — before anyone else does it elsewhere.