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

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.”