Traffic Light Tree

Has someone been busy with the photo editing software here? Actually no, this is a real photo that has not been retouched or altered in any way.

So does this set of lights control the busiest junction in the world, and how do drivers know which set of lights to take notice of?

Actually, this is a piece of art, by a Frenchman called Pierre Vivant. Eight metres tall, there are 75 sets of lights, and it was installed in East London in 1999. The Traffic Light Tree was the winner in an international competition, and each set of lights has a cycle that is controlled by a computer.

"The sculpture imitates the natural landscape of the adjacent London Plane Trees, while the changing pattern of the lights reveals and reflects the never ending rhythm of the surrounding domestic, financial and commercial activities." Pierre Vivant

Installed at a roundabout at Canary Wharf in London's Docklands, it was originally hoped the lights could be triggered to reflect movements on the Stock Exchange, but that turned out to be too expensive.

Some motorists claim to have mistaken the tree for real traffic lights!

We are grateful to the Citynoise web site for permission to post this photo here. If you visit the original article you can see more pictures of the Traffic Light Tree.