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Update: Traffic Light Engineer Fights for His Title

After being fined and investigated, Mats Jarlstrom took Oregon to court to prove he's an engineer.

About a month ago Anna Wells reported on Mats Järlström, a resident of Beaverton, OR who had reached out to officials with a possible solution for the town’s traffic light timing issues. The town was using a somewhat dated algorithm that was leading to an abundance of traffic tickets.

Despite holding an electrical engineering degree in his native Sweden, and having previously done extensive research on traffic light timing, his email to the Oregon State Board of Examiners for Engineering and Land Surveying was met with a lengthy personal investigation and $500 fine for engaging in the unlicensed “practice of engineering”.

IEN readers shared comments ranging from frustration over the bureaucracy to agreeing with Oregon officials on the need for proper licensing when addressing issues of public safety.

Last we heard, Järlström had retained a lawyer and was suing Oregon for suppressing his freedom of speech. Last week, the case made its ways to federal court.

The judge sided with Järlström, and issued an order, which was agreed to by the state of Oregon, stating that Järlström is free to exercise his First Amendment right in discussing traffic light theories without obtaining an Oregon professional engineering license.

He will also be allowed to describe himself publicly and privately using the term “engineer”.

Järlström was quoted as saying he’s thrilled to be free to start sharing his ideas because that was all he wanted to do from the beginning.

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