A man who sped up his daily commute with a device that changes traffic lights has prompted the city of Longmont, Colorado, to move ahead with an upgrade of its traffic signals.
Jason Niccum was issued a $50 ticket on March 29 after city officials discovered he had been using a device, purchased on eBay, to change traffic lights to green to speed up his ride to work.
Joe Olson, a city traffic engineer, discovered Niccum's trick after receiving complaints of traffic backing up at downtown intersections. Olson investigated and discovered Niccum was using the device to give himself green lights along Main Street almost every day at around 7:40 a.m. as he drove to work.
"The lights (all over the city) are coordinated one with another," Olson told the Daily Times-Call. "If you short-change one movement on the amount of green, it can create some pretty significant backups in certain locations."
The transmitting device Niccum used is part of a system designed to let emergency vehicles speed up their progress through traffic. An upgrade of the system had been planned for next year, but the publicity from Niccum's case is forcing engineers to move ahead witth the project because they believe there are more illegal transmitters out there.
Niccum, who bought the strobe-like transmitter on eBay for $100, told a local newspaper that he felt the device paid for itself over the 2 years he used it.