Science-fair winner Joana Alhegagi, 14.

Joana Alhegagi’s research on Ottawa traffic lights has green-lighted her way to this year’s Canada-Wide Science Fair in Charlottetown.

“I’m actually really excited to go because I haven’t been anywhere in that part of Canada,” said Alhegagi, a Grade 8 student at Henry Munro Middle School.

She was among some 250 area students who displayed their projects at Carleton University Saturday for the 51st annual Ottawa Regional Science Fair, and one of 11 finalists selected to progress to the national event in May.

“It was a lot of fun because I liked talking to the judges,” she said. “They were really nice and they gave you a lot of pointers and they seemed really interested in my project.”

For that project, Alhegagi did a study of local traffic lights.

“I was testing to see if the amount of time that we have for yellow traffic lights is enough for drivers to make safe decisions,” she said.

In the intersections she studied the yellow light typically lasted 3.6 seconds, and according to physics formulas she used that’s not enough time to safely decide whether to brake or go ahead.

She recommends extending yellow lights by another couple of seconds.

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