During its April 21 meeting, the Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC) Board of Road Commissioners adopted a resolution honoring two students from the International Academy High School in Bloomfield Township, Seraj Desai and Joe Chamma, for their efforts to identify a solution to the "yellow-light dilemma zone."
Desai is a resident of Bloomfield Township and Chamma is a resident of West Bloomfield.
“These two students are proof that we have good reasons to be optimistic about the future,” stated RCOC Board Chairman Ron Fowkes. “With no incentive to do so, they took it upon themselves to try to find a solution to what they perceived as a public safety concern. This Board applauds the initiative these two demonstrated.”
The yellow-light dilemma zone is the area within which a driver must decide whether to stop or proceed through an intersection once a signal has changed from green to yellow. The two students approached RCOC last year with their dilemma zone proposal.
The two suggested that if three, 24-inch diameter circles were painted on the road surface, at an appropriate distance from the signal, they would signal to the driver that if he or she passed the circles before the signal changed to yellow, they should proceed. If the driver had not yet crossed the circles when the signal changed, the two suggested, and then he or she should stop.
RCOC Deputy Managing Director/County Highway Engineer Gary Piotrowicz and the RCOC Traffic-Safety Department worked with the students to fine-tune their proposal. The proposal was then submitted to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), seeking approval to implement the plan on a limited test basis.
As part of the proposal, the students employed a formula to determine where the circles should be placed, taking into account the speed limit on the road and the duration of the yellow-light interval on the traffic signal. They also proposed two specific test locations and provided installation instructions for the circles.
Unfortunately, the FHWA did not allow the proposal to be implemented, but Piotrowicz noted the initiative was laudable. "The fact that these two high school students were thinking about traffic-safety issues, and took the time to put this detailed proposal together and submit it to us is very impressive," Piotrowicz said. "I expect we'll see a lot more great things out of these students in the future."
Editor’s Note: Attached is a photo of (L-R) RCOC Vice Chairman Eric Wilson, International Academy High School Student Joe Chamma, RCOC Chair Ron Fowkes, International Academy Student Seraj Desai and RCOC Board Member Gregory Jamian.