Signals of Taiwan

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Signals of Taiwan

This section on the road signs and traffic signals of Taiwan is, perhaps, a little out of place on an Australian site. However, having visited Taiwan a few times, I've developed an  interest in their road signs and traffic signals too. And it makes an interesting comparison to the way things are done in Australia. The photos have created interest elsewhere, so I've decided to add this section for anyone curious. I've included photos of a few other scenes of interest as well.

Pages 1-3 contain photos taken 2002 and 2003. Pages 4 - 5 taken 2005.

This is a typical Taiwanese traffic signal installation. The majority of signals are mounted horizontally and all that I saw were 12" (300mm) diameter lens types. Generally there were only 2 lights per direction.
All-way arrows. Signals with 5 lamps usually had red, amber, left arrow, straight ahead arrow and right arrow. Sometimes traffic in the opposite direction had the same display. So, unlike Australia, a green arrow doesn't always mean you have no conflicting movements.
These lights are at a 6-way intersection. Two minor streets cross a main road with 4 carriageways. One minor street is a right angles, the other at about 45 degrees. Both side streets have a green signal, even though they cross each other. Also note the pedestrian crossing which bisects all 6 roads. You only get 30 seconds to cross before the main road gets the green again. It is barely enough (I tried it several times) and as you also have traffic from the side streets to contend with, still rather dangerous.
Here's another Taiwanese traffic signal peculiarity. Traffic signals facing directions that have no road. In some places I noticed signals facing walls. This set-up was for a pedestrian crossing - and the only one I saw with pedestrian push buttons. Not that they were needed. The signals cycled regardless of anyone wishing to cross.
As the second photo shows, there are traffic signals facing both directions on each pole here as well as the expected ones facing traffic.
Taiwanese railway level crossing signal and boom barrier.
Another look at the flimsy-looking boom barriers. Divided roads such as this have barriers on both sides as many Taiwanese scooter riders (and car drivers for that matter) think nothing of driving along the wrong side of the road.
Note the speaker for the electronic bell sound.
These must be the coolest signals in Taiwan. And anyone who knows me, knows that I don't use that word a lot.

These LED pedestrian signals are actually animated. The sequence varies from place to place, but the don't walk signal is the usual red standing man (albeit with large feet and thin body). But the walk signal is an animated green walking man, complete with arms swinging. The top panel becomes an orange countdown of the seconds remaining until the don't walk signal comes on. In the last 5 seconds, the green man either starts flashing (on and off that is) or he actually starts running. And YOU should do the same, as the traffic signals tend to change to red as soon as the pedestrian signal does.

A YouTube video of one of these signals in operation. I must try for higher resolution next time. :)
Odd placement of signs at a freeway offramp.
And just to prove it wasn't a one-off. Here's a sign that appears to have had a power pole placed in front it it and another sign in front of that. I had to walk past this pair often as they were near where I was staying. I first saw them in 2002. They were still this way late in 2003 - and are probably still there.
A roadworks 1km sign atop an assortment of other signs.
A countdown timer showing how long the red light will be on. Traffic signals in Taiwan are not vehicle actuated as in Australia, so it is easy to have these displays.
Heres another display that is somewhat ambiguous. There is a straight ahead and right arrow showing here, but no left turn arrow. This could mean you should not turn left; that you can turn left, but can expect conflicting traffic, or the left arrow bulb may have blown. Not that this would concern local drivers. They'll turn if they can  regardless of the signals.
Close-up of a standard traffic flat-bodied signal.
Round-bodies signals. Note street name signs on the cantilevered signal arms in Chinese and English. The spelling of English names is often inconsistent.
Roadworks sign.

Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Page added 19/11/2004
Page updated 18/06/2007