Runway Red Lights -- Solution Or Stopgap?

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It might seem like a sensible solution, especially at big airports with a complex array of taxiways and runways -- embed red lights into the runway pavement at the intersections. It's been tried at Dallas-Fort Worth and in San Diego, and reports are positive. But the technology is simply a "a stopgap measure," according to FAA Acting Administrator Bobby Sturgell. "Runway status lights are one way to drive down incursions, but they’re not the best way," he said this week, while visiting Los Angeles International Airport to announce that the lights will be installed there. At LAX, he says, the runways are simply too close together, and that layout needs to be addressed. A recent report by the Office of Inspector General for the Transportation Department found that the status-light systems are effective and should be deployed at airports across the country.

The new lights at LAX should be up and running by early next year. The LAX system will be the first to include installations on high-speed exit taxiways.