Traffic signals can be an effective intersection traffic control device only when they elicit the appropriate sequence of behavior by drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists. This paper, from a set of conference proceedings on Intersection Safety: Achieving Solutions Through Partnerships (March 2004, Irvine, California), reviews the benefits and disadvantages of traffic signals, and outlines the appropriate steps to incorporating traffic signals in an intersection. The author stresses that the signal indications must first be detected in its environment, which may be visually complex. The signal indications must then be perceived and understood in sufficient time to allow the user to make decisions and safely perform necessary maneuvers. The author discusses the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) from the Federal Highway Administration; traffic signal control modes of operation, including pre-timed control, traffic-actuated control, and density control; traffic signal phasing, including left-turn phasing, delay, capacity, and phasing to reduce pedestrian conflicts; signal preemption; flashing operation; cycle length; phase change intervals, including green intervals and pedestrian intervals; controller settings and detection for dilemma zone protection; active warning signs for high-speed approaches; design and enforcement to reduce red-light running; visibility requirements, including treatments to improve signal visibility and conspicuity; and guidelines for signal removal. The author reiterates that traffic control signals, if properly designed and installed, can be expected to reduce the frequency and severity of a number of different types of crashes.


  • English

Media Info

  • Features: Figures; Photos; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 73p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00988928
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 0935403825
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Apr 15 2005 12:00AM