Clever designers of traffic lights have invented a new display that supports the familiar colors. Small white lights count down in a cycle or a column, informing the commuters on the waiting time for green, so they know when to get ready.
The small white lights respond lively to the traffic sensors around the crossing. When one of the other roads is clear, the corresponding white lights count down faster, and when that road is busy, the small lights halt. The movement entertains and relaxes; time goes faster. Attention stays with the traffic light, and there is no longer any dozing or tensing.
In the past, the only use of displays in traffic was to show important things. In cars, they showed speed and the amount of fuel left in the tank. Over time they became useful to show neutral numbers as well, such as the temperature inside the car. They also appeared in new places. Digital signs on the side of the road remind speeders that they should slow down. The cycle of white lights is the next step. Apparently, a trifling guess of a useless fact is wanted. Someone who is waiting, craves attentional gum.