News | UAE

Ajman: Countdown traffic timer cuts accidents at intersections

Residents call for it to be implemented in other emirates

  • By Aghaddir Ali, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 16:31 July 13, 2013
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News
  • Most of the traffic signals in Ajman have countdown timers to indicate how much longer a certain phase will last.

Ajman: The countdown traffic light system in Ajman has seen a zero accident rate at intersections, its police chief said.

Ajman Police in cooperation with Ajman Municipality is installing the traffic countdown system on 95 per cent of the emirate’s intersections. It was first introduced four years ago.

“There are digital screens doing countdowns and telling the driver how many seconds are left — that you can cross if it’s green; that you should wait if it’s red,” Brigadier Ali Abdullah Alwan, commander-in–chief of Ajman Police told Gulf News.

“Traditional signals regulate when vehicles stop and go at traffic intersections but do not provide information as to when the signal will change to green or red. This lack of information results in unnecessary stops and starts that reduces traffic efficiency — thus road congestion and driver frustration. The traffic signal countdown system provides safe and reliable solutions to these everyday problems”, Brigadier Alwan said.

“For motorists waiting at a stop light, the traffic signal countdown system displays the number of seconds until the light will turn green. This information allows motorists to prepare to move more efficiently and reduce time lags. Similarly, motorists approaching a green light will be equipped with the important information of how many seconds the green light will last, allowing them sufficient time to reduce speed or stop. Such information dissemination reduces misunderstanding and thus promotes accident avoidance.”

The countdown signals are widely used in many other countries with advanced traffic management systems.

Ajman authorities are working to complete Al Qiyadia bridge which will be completed in a period of eight months and will also ease traffic.

Ajman Municipality has a major role in installing the countdown system as it financing the project, he said.

Residents called on authorities in the UAE to implement the countdown system in another emirates to prevent needless accidents at traffic lights.

Ahmad Salem Al Shehi, 35, a government employee based in another emirate and working in Ajman, told Gulf News: “I have found Ajman traffic lights great, especially knowing when you are to go next. I hope the same system is applied in other emirates as the Ministry of Interior plans for zero accidents.”

Saleh Ahmad, a Dubai resident told Gulf News: “It’s better to replace the current traffic signal lights in other emirates with a countdown timer [similar to the one fixed in Ajman]. Usually sensible people cross at the yellow light to avoid accidents from the vehicle behind. But now the major problem faced on roads is flashing lights by speeding drivers and changing lanes without indicating. This is a new trend developed in recent years. The authorities must take serious action to reverse this new culture.

“Countdown traffic lights are brilliant. If you know you have three minutes before the lights change, you can easily kill that amount of time on your phone without having to look up every five seconds to see if the lights have changed; they make a real difference to the whole traffic nastiness. I’m quite sure that if this system was also implemented in other emirates there would be far fewer accidents at traffic lights when people come to a screeching, tyre-smoking halt when the lights suddenly turn red.”

Comments (29)

  1. Added 16:40 July 14, 2013

    I am surprised to hear that using Count Down Timers is considered a step forward since these only work with fixed time signals and do not allow for actuated or adaptive operation. While it might look convenient to drivers and possibly decrease number of accidents but it actually severely limits signal time flexibility and hence increases delay !.

    Husam Musharbash, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 16:33 July 14, 2013

    How many millions are spending for better traffic system in Dubai. So please spend some millions for this count down system and we can see the difference.

    Ahmad Saleem, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 16:28 July 14, 2013

    It should be implemented in all UAE as it is very effective for driver to know the time remaining, as usually driver increase speed when they see light is green.

    Kamran, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 16:17 July 14, 2013


    RICARDO T. FRAGATA, SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates

  5. Added 15:45 July 14, 2013

    We have this system in India, especially in Bangalore. It works well for motorists as well as pedestrians. It is a good idea to have it at busy intersections.

    Vinay, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  6. Added 15:03 July 14, 2013

    This is such a good idea & if helps reduce fatalities then why not?

    Jack, RAK, United Arab Emirates

  7. Added 14:39 July 14, 2013

    Please fix this in All Emirates it could save some life .

    imran, Ras Al KHaimah, Bangladesh

  8. Added 14:10 July 14, 2013

    This is a good move and the timer countdown will help for the preparedness for the driver. I think all over emirates if this is done and across GCC will also create common awareness and rules, definitely this will reduce lot of signal jump incidents.

    Madan Rao, Muscat, Oman

  9. Added 14:08 July 14, 2013

    Excellent Idea, all signal lights to show countdown for red and green to go, so the people are prepared to wait and cross. As said sure it not only reduces but also reduce close to zero. If all Emirates adopt this system of COUNT-DOWN, drivers will be patient and do not cross in anxiety. GOOD IDEA

    SYED J.HUQ, DUBAI, United Arab Emirates

  10. Added 14:00 July 14, 2013

    I always found the pedestrian timer signals also really very good for safe crossing... u always know when its not safe to start crossing... or how much more time u have to rush to the other end. Please do implement it all over UAE in every single signal.

    Nadira, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

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