902.5 Traffic Control Signal Features (MUTCD Chapter 4D)

From Engineering Policy Guide

Jump to: navigation, search

Contents

902.5.1 General (MUTCD Section 4D.01)

Support. The features of traffic control signals of interest to road users are the location, design and meaning of the signal indications. Uniformity in the design features that affect the traffic to be controlled, as set forth in this article, is especially important for the safety and efficiency of operations.

Standard:. When a traffic control signal is not in operation, such as before it is placed in service, during seasonal shutdowns, or when it is not desirable to operate the traffic control signal, the signal faces shall be covered, turned, or taken down to clearly indicate that the traffic control signal is not in operation.

Support. Seasonal shutdown is a condition in which a permanent traffic signal is turned off or otherwise made non-operational during a particular season when its operation is not justified. This might be applied in a community where tourist traffic during most of the year justifies the permanent signalization, but a seasonal shutdown of the signal during an annual period of lower tourist traffic would reduce delays; or where a major traffic generator, such as a large factory, justifies the permanent signalization, but the large factory is shut down for an annual factory vacation for a few weeks in the summer.

Standard. A traffic control signal shall control traffic only at the intersection or midblock location where the signal faces are placed.

Midblock crosswalks shall not be signalized if they are located within 300 ft. from the nearest traffic control signal, unless the proposed traffic control signal will not restrict the progressive movement of traffic.

Guidance. A midblock crosswalk location should not be controlled by a traffic control signal if the crosswalk is located within 100 ft. from side streets or driveways that are controlled by STOP signs or YIELD signs.

Engineering judgment should be used to determine the proper phasing and timing for a traffic control signal. Since traffic flows and patterns change, phasing and timing should be reevaluated regularly and updated if needed.

Traffic control signals within 1/2 mile of one another along a major route or in a network of intersecting major routes should be coordinated, preferably with interconnected controller units. Where traffic control signals that are within 1/2 mile of one another along a major route have a jurisdictional boundary or a boundary between different signal systems between them, coordination across the boundary should be considered.

Support. Signal coordination need not be maintained between control sections that operate on different cycle lengths.

For coordination with grade crossing signals, see EPG 902.5.38 and MUTCD Chapter 8.

902.5.2 Traffic Signal Operation

Support. Traffic signals can operate independently of any other traffic control signal ("isolated" operation) or their operation can be related to other traffic control signals ("coordinated" operation) forming a traffic control signal system.

Traffic control signals can be operated in pretimed, full-actuated, or semi-actuated..

902.5.2.1 Pre-timed Control

Support. Pre-timed controllers direct traffic to stop or permit it to proceed according to a predetermined fixed cycle length and a division of the fixed cycle time between the various approaches to the intersection regardless of the actual vehicle demand. The sequence in which the signal indications are shown, and the time-relation of the signal to other signals are also pre-selected. Any or all of these features may be changed to accommodate specific needs.

In pre-timed operation, signal sequence is controlled by signal plans, which define the order of the signal intervals that are displayed. The amount of time given to each interval in a signal plan is determined by a timing plan. The time of the day at which specific timing and/or signal plan programs begin or end may be predetermined locally or remotely.

Pre-timed control may work well at intersections with tight spacing (i.e. diamond interchanges or central business district). However, traffic actuated controllers are preferred at most intersections: actuated controllers can run pre-timed but pre-timed controllers cannot run actuated.

902.5.2.2 Fully-actuated Control

Support. A fully actuated controller uses detection for all movements to determine the display and duration of vehicle and/or pedestrian movements at an intersection. The controller is able to skip those movements where no demand is present.

Fully actuated controllers have the flexibility of operating fully actuated, semi-actuated or pre-timed. The type of operation may also be changed by time of day.

Fully actuated controllers are available in two primary types, the NEMA, National Electrical Manufacturers Association, or the Type 170. Both are keyboard entry and software driven machines. The NEMA controllers make up the bulk of the actuated controllers used in the state. The Type 170 controllers are used in District 8 and at those locations in Kansas City where we are interfacing with the city.

NEMA TS1 standards (refer to EPG 902.5.6.1 NEMA TS1) define the basic operating parameters of the controller as well as the inputs and outputs of the unit. This has led to the interchangeability of NEMA controllers between manufacturers. Most of the manufacturers have enhanced the operating software, adding many features that may be unique to that make and model. However, to be certified as a NEMA controller the basic operating functions are identical.

The NEMA TS2 (refer to EPG 902.5.6.1 NEMA TS2) standard expands the features of the TS1 standard, providing a higher level of standardization and interchangeability of equipment. TS2 also defines many of the features that have evolved in the current NEMA controller technology. Some TS2 functionality can be part of a TS1 cabinet.

The Type 170 (refer to EPG 902.5.6.1 Type 170) controller defines the hardware of the controller and allows the user to choose the software to run the controller. This has led to a great and almost total interchangeability of the controller and cabinet hardware but has left the user to evaluate and standardize on the software to run the intersection. Most of the features of the software are similar to the NEMA parameters. The Springfield district is using the BiTrans software and the Kansas City area uses the Wapiti software.

All fully actuated controllers are able to respond to the traffic at the intersection. Minimum green times for called phases as well as extensions, when there continues to be traffic present, are programmable. There are also maximum green times, when a phase must be terminated to serve other calls, as well as yellow change and red clearance intervals that are programmable. There are other features available on a per phase basis such as added pedestrian movements, initial, maximum initial, minimum gap, time to reduce, time before reduction, minimum and maximum recalls. These features allow the fully actuated controller to serve the traffic in the most efficient manner.

The phases in an actuated controller can be assigned or grouped many ways to provide unique operations that best serve the intersection's needs. The most common is the dual ring eight-phase configuration. This arrangement allows for separate through and left turn phases for up to four approaches. The opposing left turns are typically on concurrently, either leading or lagging. Through the software, the phases can be repositioned to provide a lead-lag left operation if so desired. Examples of typically used configurations are found in Signal Phasing and Layout Examples.

Efficient actuated operation is dependent on the type and placement of the detectors. Poor detector placement can have a serious impact on the delay and capacity of an intersection. Different types of detection are discussed in EPG 902.5.40 and EPG 902.15.3. Typically, stop bar presence detection is used. A common presence detector is a 6 ft. x 30 ft. area. Mainline through detection may be supplemented with advanced detectors located a distance from the stop bar based on the speed of approaching traffic.

Full actuation and advance vehicle detection on high-speed approaches are typically used to reduce the frequency of vehicles in the “dilemma zone”. The dilemma zone is the area where the onset of the yellow change interval creates difficulty for the driver to decide whether to stop or proceed.

902.5.2.3 Semi-actuated Control

Support. Semi-actuated intersection control refers to intersections where a fully actuated controller is used but one or more phases are not actuated. Typically, the mainline through phases are not actuated and the side streets and the mainline lefts are actuated. Timing for the non-actuated phases may be accomplished by setting the minimum green time and placing the phases on minimum recall. The non-actuated phases will remain in green until there is a call from one of the other movements and the minimum green timer is expired. The actuated phases work the same as in fully actuated control. To avoid or minimize unnecessary delay at isolated intersections fully actuated control is preferable to semi-actuated control.

902.5.2.4 Comparison of Pre-timed and Actuated Control

Support. Each principal type of traffic signal control, pre-timed and actuated, posses certain advantages not afforded by the other. The following discussion is intended to bring out basic differences in the different types of control, as to their operating characteristics and suitability for various traffic requirements. It is to be remembered that each type of control is capable of being modified in various ways for improved efficiency and flexibility.

With basic pre-timed control, a consistent and regularly repeated sequence of signal indication is given to traffic. Pre-timed control is particularly adaptable to intersections where it is desired to coordinate signal operation with closely spaced intersections.

Actuated control differs basically from pre-timed control in that signal indications are not of fixed length, but are determined by and conform within certain limits to the changing traffic flow or to the background cycle, if coordinated. The length of cycle and sequence of phases may or may not remain the same from cycle to cycle since phases will not be serviced unless there are detections from waiting vehicles or pedestrians.

902.5.2.5 Advantages of Pre-timed Control

Support. Among the advantages of pre-timed control are the following:

  • Consistent starting time and duration of intervals facilitates coordination with adjacent traffic signals.
  • Provides more precise coordination than does actuated control. Precise coordination of timing permits the operation of two or more very closely spaced intersections to operate at maximum efficiency.
  • Pre-timed control is not dependent on vehicle detectors. Thus, the maintenance needs can be reduced.
  • Pre-timed control can be more acceptable than actuated control in areas where large and fairly consistent pedestrian volumes are present, and where confusion may occur with the operation of pedestrian push buttons.

902.5.2.6 Advantages of Actuated Control

Support. Among the advantages of actuated control are the following:

  • Can provide maximum efficiency at intersections where fluctuations in traffic cannot be anticipated or programmed with pre-timed control.
  • Can provide maximum efficiency at complex intersections where one or more movements are sporadic or subject to variation in volume.
  • Can provide the advantages of continuous signal control even in periods of light traffic without causing unnecessary delay to traffic on the major street.
  • Can be used at locations where traffic signal control is warranted for only brief periods during the day.

902.5.3 Signal Phasing

Support. The phasing of a signal determines the order that movements are serviced. A study of traffic movements at the intersection is made to determine permitted and controlled movements. From this, the number and sequence of traffic phases is determined, which in turn determines the interval or color sequence and types of signal indications to be used. In general, the most efficient operation is obtained with the fewest possible phases; however, each signal installation is designed to provide safe and efficient control of conflicting traffic movements.

Guidance. The following articles provide guidelines for selecting phasing. A number of examples are shown in Signal Phasing and Layout Examples.

The typical phase arrangement at most intersections is with the eight phases grouped into two sets of movements, or "rings". NEMA designates the assignments as follows:

NEMA Ring
NEMA Ring

A form for actuated controller sequencing of an intersection is available.

Phase assignment should be kept uniform in accordance with this ring structure whenever possible. Mainline left turns should be assigned to phases 1 and 5, and mainline through movements to phases 2 and 6. Side street left turns should be assigned to phases 3 and 7, with through movements assigned phases 4 and 8. Other phase numbering schemes might be used, but consistency should be maintained throughout the district.

As shown above, mainline leading left indications are displayed first. Phases on opposite sides of the "barrier" cannot operate together (such as phases 2 and 4). Phases on the same side of the barrier in one ring can run concurrently with phases in the other ring (such as phase 3 on at the same time with phase 8). Only one phase per ring can be operating at the same time. (In ring 1, phase 2 cannot be on if phase 1 is on).

902.5.4 Control Features for Non-coordinated Signals

Support:. Control features for non-coordinated signals include:

1. Isolated Operation. Actuated operation can effectively minimize traffic delays at locations where coordination is not a consideration.
2. Traffic Density Timing. The traffic density timing feature provides for the initial green interval and/or the allowable traffic gap that ends the green interval, to be automatically adjusted according to traffic flow variations.
The variable initial green interval setting provides a means for timing the length of the green interval according to the number of vehicle actuations received during the preceding red interval. The variable initial green control is intended for use where the shortest practical minimum green interval is not adequate for the traffic that can be stored between the advance detectors and the stop bar. The initial part of the green interval (minimum initial), remains short when few cars have arrived during the red interval, but it increases (added initial) a fixed amount per actuation during the red interval up to the maximum initial. With advance detection only, vehicles need more time to enter the intersection before they lose the right of way.
Features of density control are discussed in EPG 902.5.40.2.
3. Recall Operation. Each phase of a controller is equipped with a recall feature. With recall off, the phase responds only to its detectors. With recall on, the controller will always service that phase. This is accomplished by the controller placing a single call back to the phase when the clearance interval is initiated.
Recall comes in several variations and has different uses. Minimum recall is normally used on the mainline through phases. Minimum recall guarantees the timing of the minimum green for the phase selected with additional green available through actuations. Using this feature on the mainline through is advantageous since during periods of light activity the controller will rest with the main street green indications on. Maximum recall guarantees the timing of the maximum green interval for the phase selected. This feature is normally used when the detection for a phase has been disabled due to failure or removal. In this instance, the phase will always be serviced for the maximum green interval programmed that is to be adjusted accordingly.
Many actuated controllers also have a feature called “soft recall” that allows the selected phase to be serviced only if there are no other valid calls. This feature can be used on the main street during periods of light traffic. The advantage over minimum recall is the controller can skip servicing the main street, if no real calls exist, and move on to the next called phase. This can provide a quicker response during the periods of light traffic.

902.5.5 Coordination

Support. Coordination can provide nearly uninterrupted travel, resulting in one of the greatest benefits to motorists. Coordination provides many paybacks other than less delay: the reduction of stops, crashes, fuel consumption, emissions and driver frustration makes coordination one of the best values for the dollars spent.

902.5.5.1 How Coordination Works

Support. The key to coordinating signals is a common cycle length among all signals within the limits of the system. The start of a certain phase at each intersection, called the coordinated phase (usually the mainline through), is synchronized to a system reference point. This system reference provides a signal to each controller once every cycle. The cycle length is the total time it takes for a signal to serve all phases. The amount of time it takes for the coordinated phase at an intersection to start after the system reference is called the offset. Different offsets along a series of coordinated signals will provide different starting times of the coordinated phases. By setting offsets based on the speed of traffic in a certain direction, stops can be greatly minimized by starting the mainline green at that point where traffic from a previous signal just reaches the next signal.

Another important factor in coordination is what cycle length to run. Because volumes of traffic fluctuate throughout the day, different cycle lengths and offsets must be run to handle the demands of volume in the system. Higher cycle lengths are generally used in the morning and evening peak times, and weekends and lunch times may also call for a certain cycle length. Off-peak times use shorter cycle lengths. In a coordinated system, what time of day these cycle lengths begin and end must be the same for every controller in order for progression to work.

In the old electro-mechanical controllers, there were three dials to handle the morning, evening and off-peak flows. Typically, Dial 1 referred to off-peak cycles, Dial 2 to the AM rush, and Dial 3 for the PM peak time. This convention is still commonly used on most of today's solid-state controllers, but with the expanded capability of solid-state controllers, dial is being replaced with timing plan. Many of today's solid-state controllers can run up to nearly one hundred timing plans. Each timing plan has unique cycle length, offset, and phase times that will allow coordination for any possible traffic condition throughout the year.

902.5.5.2 Planning a Coordinated System

902.5.5.2.1 Determine System Limits

Guidance.

Identification of how many signals to coordinate is the first step in building a signal system. Generally, knowledge of the arterial flow is a good start. Arterial streets where you can expect a group of vehicles to travel from one signal to another without a significant loss of vehicles turning off to another arterial or development can give reasonable limits.

The upper limit on spacing for coordinated signals has been assumed to be 1/2 mile. However, if the flow of vehicles can be maintained at a greater distance, then there is likely no reason to disregard additional signals in the system. Computer software can be used to establish the limits of a coordinated system. There is a formula, called the "coupling index", which can also be used if computer software is not available:

I = V / L

where:

I = Coupling Index (CI)
V = 2-way volume on the link in vehicles per hour
L = Length of link in ft.

The link is bounded by two signalized intersections. The units of the CI are meaningless.

For planning purposes, a CI equal to or greater than 0.3 during any hour indicates the possibility of including the signals within the system. For analysis of existing systems, a CI equal to or greater than 0.5 indicates the signals is to be coordinated during the hour analyzed, if they can be operated on equal cycle lengths. This index provides a very simplistic method of determining the system limits.

The final factor in determining coordination limits is to be engineering judgment. Factors to consider for including a signal within a coordinated system are whether the intersection is over-saturated, already part of a system of the intersecting arterial, or can be serviced with the system's cycle length.

All newly constructed signals should be reviewed for coordination and implemented if needed. Non-coordinated signals should be reviewed periodically to determine if coordination is to be provided.

902.5.5.2.2 Determine Timing Plans to Use

Guidance. The purpose of different timing plans is to match the traffic conditions in order to provide the best choice of cycle lengths and split times. The basic timing plans used during a week for most systems are:

1. Off-Peak
2. AM Peak
3. PM Peak
4. Late-Night Operation

Off-Peak operation generally uses lower cycle lengths than AM and PM peaks. Late-night operation can be either flash or free control, or even a short cycle length to minimize delays for the side street when signal coordination control is desired.

In addition, the traffic conditions along a system may not be handled by only one off-peak plan. Mid-day and weekend patterns may greatly differ from off-peak patterns and could require separate plans. Even AM and PM peaks may require more than one plan if volumes and distribution greatly vary during those times.

Ideally, a 24-hour count of each intersection is to be obtained for at least a five-day period that includes a weekend but not a major holiday. This provides typical weekday and weekend traffic conditions. If not every intersection can be counted, the major intersections are to be counted in this manner. From these counts, the times when traffic characteristics change in amount and/or directional distribution are to be charted.

The start and end times should occur well before and after the worst hour during timing plans. In order to change from one timing plan into another, a transition occurs which disrupts the coordinated flow. If this transition occurs during times of peak flow, then any benefits provided by the additional plan may be lost by the disruption in coordination. If the transition cannot be made without disrupting the coordinated flow, then one plan should be used for a longer period in order to keep traffic moving. The timing plan chosen may not provide ideal conditions throughout the times it is in effect, but should be set up to handle the worst hour of traffic during that time.

In addition to regular time-of-week timing plans, yearly conditions may require other timing plans. Arterials servicing seasonal tourist locations, large shopping centers and large schools will likely require the capability of timing plans which satisfy those conditions in effect only during certain times of the year. Counts are to be done which take these conditions into account for best results.

902.5.5.2.3 Determine Cycle Lengths for Timing Plans

Guidance. In most coordinated systems, the cycle length requirements differ from intersection to intersection for a timing plan. In order to run a coordinated system, a common cycle length will have to be chosen. Typically, computer software (See EPG 902.9 for some titles) is used to determine appropriate cycle lengths. However, if computer software is unavailable the following procedures will provide a rough, but effective, cycle length to apply to an arterial.

902.5.5.2.3.1 Determine Minimum Cycle Lengths

Standard. In each system the minimum cycle length shall be determined by the intersection with the highest volume to capacity ratio.

Guidance. These critical intersections will likely have more than two phases and side street volumes that demand a significant amount of green time. In order to achieve any benefits to coordination, the proper amount of green time will need to be allotted to both the through traffic and the side street traffic. Two methods for determining minimum cycle length are:

(A) Critical Lane Volumes

Minimum Recommended Cycle Lengths
Sum of Critical Lane Volumes Number of Phases
2 3-4 5-8
800 304560
900 355570
1000 406080
1100 457090
1200 5585110
1300 70105120
1400 90120*
1500 120**
* Intersection may be over capacity. Maximum recommended cycle is 120 seconds.

The table above presents a way of determining minimum cycle length based on the sum of critical lane volumes and number of phases.

(B) Highway Capacity Manual (HCM)

Appendix II for the "Signalized Intersections" chapter in the HCM presents a more detailed method of determining minimum cycle length. It is recommended to use the "Pre-timed Signals" procedure in the "Allocation of Green Time" section regardless of the type of control used, since a free-operating, fully-actuated signal will have to run nearly pre-timed operation in a coordinated system.

902.5.5.2.3.2 Final Determination of Cycle Length

Guidance. The determination of the minimum cycle length at the critical intersections should provide a starting point as to a practical cycle length for the system, and should not be interpreted as an absolute value. Slight variations up or down might be required to best meet the demands of each intersection. Most arterial optimization software will require the user to input a lower and upper range for proper performance. If optimization software is not being used, the cycle length that provides the best service for the critical intersection(s) should be used as the system's cycle length for that particular timing plan.

902.5.5.2.4 Determine Phase Times and Sequence for Each Intersection

Guidance. Computer software determines phase times and sequence when determining the cycle length. When calculating by hand, green times for the phases and sequence that are displayed at each intersection should be determined once a cycle length has been determined. Since the purpose of coordination is to favor the progression of the coordinated phase, every effort is to be made to maximize the amount of green time and provide the best sequence to that phase.

902.5.5.2.4.1 Phase Times

Guidance. In order to run a pre-determined cycle length, actuated phases must be terminated, or forced off, after a certain amount of time regardless of the presence of vehicles. Actuated phases can still gap-out or be skipped if no calls are present but cannot extend past its force-off time for that timing plan. Non-actuated phases must extend to their entire force-off time. This force-off time per phase usually includes the green time and change period times.

If optimization software is being used, the program will generally give a force-off distribution for each intersection in the system. For non-computer planning, there are several methods to determine phase times. As with the cycle length determination, the HCM Appendix II in the "Signalized Intersections" chapter provides a basic procedure to allocate green time.

902.5.5.2.4.2 Phase Sequence

Guidance. When more than two phases are used, the sequence in which the indications are displayed must be determined for each timing plan. The usual choice is when to display a protected left turn in relation to the mainline green: at the start (lead) or near the end (lag). The use of lead-lag for protected left turns on the mainline can greatly affect the progression See EPG 902.5.27.1 Leading and Lagging Left-Turns.

If optimization software is being used, the program will generally give a mainline sequence at each intersection that maximizes the green band. Side street sequencing is usually left up to the user. There may be some timing plans where the side street sequence becomes a factor in coordination. A heavy left turn onto the mainline may call for a sequence that puts the side street left turn indications at a point in the cycle that allows for the group to clear a downstream intersection.

902.5.5.2.5 Determine Offsets and Transition in Each Timing Plan

Guidance. Once the cycle length, phase timings, and sequence have been determined, it is necessary to determine when to begin the coordinated phase in relation to the offset reference. The offset reference is a defined point during a 24-hour period to run the background cycle. In most cases, midnight is used as the reference point. The offset for each intersection will, if properly set, provide for progressed flow in the desired direction.

Option. Different offsets may be used for each timing plan at each intersection.

Guidance. There is no better tool to use to represent the flow of traffic on an arterial than the time-space diagram. This type of graphical representation uses an x-y axis plot of red and green time, phase sequences, cycle lengths, and intersection spacing to display how well a platoon of vehicles moves from one end to the other on an arterial road. The x-axis is a scale of the intersections by feet, and the y-axis represents the time scale in seconds. Multiple cycles are laid out on the y-axis, with solid lines representing mainline red time. A green band represents the flow of vehicles whose slope represents the speed of the platoon along the artery. An example is shown below.

It will be assumed the user has a computer with a time-space program available. Hand-drawn time-space diagrams are cumbersome, difficult to lay out, and nearly impossible to modify when changes are needed on the street. All further discussion on time-space diagrams will be based on the computer applications.

902.5.5.2.5.1 Offset Determination

Guidance. Determination of the offset using computer software can be accomplished by the following:

(1) Entering basic information into the software program
a. Distances between intersections, in feet. Measured from the center of each intersection.
b. Phase times and sequence for each intersection.
c. Speed of platoon between each intersection. For some arterials, it might be possible to maintain the same speed from end to end, but real conditions usually make this impractical to assume. Conditions such as closely spaced intersections, steep grades, and areas of heavy traffic will likely degrade free-flow speeds. Initially, the 85th percentile speeds, if known, can be used.
d. Local controller's offset reference point. This is the point in the local cycle that the offset is referenced to and is the start point of the local cycle (cycle zero). This point is typically at the beginning or end of the movements that are coordinated, usually the main street throughs. For a pre-timed controller, the offset reference point is typically at the beginning of interval. For actuated controllers, movements which are to be favored under coordination are designated as coordinated phases and the offset reference will be related to these movements. Many controllers offer options for the location of the offset reference.
One or both of the coordinated phases will usually start at cycle zero. If only one coordinated phase begins at local cycle zero with the other coordinated phase starting later in the cycle, this is referred to as "start of first through direction". If a second coordinated phase begins at local cycle zero after the start of the first coordinated phase, this setup is called "start of second through direction". If both coordinated phases begin together at cycle zero, either reference can be used.
e. Initial offset time, if available. If previous analysis used arterial optimization software to arrive at the cycle length and phase times, it likely provided an offset based on the desired direction of progression. This provides a good starting point, but is usually adjusted to match field conditions. If hand-calculated methods were used, the initial offset can be entered as zero and adjusted within the time-space program.
(2) Fine-Tuning Green Band
After all of the basic information is entered, the user can call up the graphic display to view the initial conditions entered. If all of the information was accurately entered, this view will show what the user can expect to see on the street under the given conditions. The display will show, beginning at either end, the start and end of the green time projected in the direction of travel by straight lines. The slope of the lines is a function of the travel speed of the platoon. The area between these two lines is referred to as the green band. The bottom line of the green band represents the first car leaving the first intersection, with the top line the last car to clear before the indications turn red for main line.
Ideally, the goal is to keep this green band unbroken from one end of the arterial to the other for the direction the user wants to favor during that timing plan. However, in some cases, it might be more efficient to break the green band if a larger green band can be obtained. For instance, a split 30-second green band would probably be more efficient than a 10-second green band through the system. It is not uncommon that obtaining a continuous green band is impossible through the entire system particularly in large systems where two-direction progression is desired or where signal spacing is not optimal.
During AM or PM peaks, it is common to favor one direction of flow. Off-peak plans usually require progression in both directions. In order to adjust green bands through the green time at an intersection, the user can usually move the intersection's phase time display up or down in relation to the y-axis directly on the screen and instantly see the effect on the green bands. This is graphically changing the offset time of the intersection. Once the user has adjusted all the intersections to show the best green bands, the final offset values is to be recorded for programming into the on-street controller. If all values have been entered correctly into the time-space program, and then into the controllers, the user should see similar conditions on the street as shown on the computer screen.
902.5.5.2.5.2 Timing Plan Transition Determination

Support. When a controller changes timing plans, it needs a way to change to different phase times, offsets and possibly phase sequences as smoothly as possible so as to minimize the effect on progression. The two major transition methods are discussed here, since they are available on most every brand of controller, and either can be selected to best suit conditions.

(1) Dwell Method. For this method, the controller will stop its cycle countdown and dwell at the local offset point in the cycle for either a predetermined amount of time, or until the master cycle zero point is reached, whichever comes first. Most controllers will dwell in the green time of the coordinated phases.
The major advantage of this method is the transition can be completed in one cycle length if no set dwell time is programmed. Disadvantages to this method become more apparent as cycle lengths increase. Indefinite dwell times can cause up to a one-cycle delay before resuming normal operation. This becomes critical if the side street demand is high, or if the offset dwell point is on the side street and mainline has to stop more frequently during transition. If side street demand is low the dwell method with a high or indefinite dwell time will allow for a quick transition with minimal impact.
(2) Shortway Method. For this method, the cycle length is varied, either high or low, from its final value until the proper offset is achieved. The amount of variance is usually no more or less than 20% of the desired cycle length. The major advantage of this method is it allows all other phases to be served with at least minimum green time, which is critical at intersections with many phases. The drawback to this method is that it may take several cycles to achieve the proper offset.

902.5.5.2.6 Adaptive Control

Support. Most traffic control systems today are based on time-of-day schedules where the traffic signal settings (cycle length, green times, offsets) are set by time-of-day based on historical data on traffic demand (e.g., am peak hour turning movement counts). However, some signal systems with two-way communication or central communication systems can escape the need to predict traffic flow and better account for variations such as weather, incidents, or major traffic generator events.

Traffic Responsive

Traffic responsive systems rely on user-defined timing plans consisting of cycle length, split times, and offsets, but instead of a scheduled time for enacting plans, a traffic responsive system will select a plan based on observed volumes and occupancies. There is no guarantee that a traffic responsive system will have a plan for the observed conditions, therefore plans must be developed to handle a needed situation in advance.

Since the response to the variation in volume and/or occupancy is a change in timing plans for these types of systems, care will be needed to insure that timing plans enacted by the system are in operation for a significant minimum duration to prevent frequent timing plan transitions.

Traffic Adaptive

Traffic adaptive systems discard the need for timing plans based on cycle lengths, splits, and offsets. Instead, these systems generally respond to changes in traffic on a system-wide basis quite rapidly on a cycle-by-cycle basis for each intersection. Other than for system failure backup purposes, storage of traditional timing plans is not required – a traffic adaptive system continually computes the traffic control plan.

A truly traffic adaptive system will adjust the settings at traffic signals based on real-time data on traffic conditions, and can best respond to unexpected or unplanned events, such as incidents, special events, weather, etc., since they adapt the timings based on observed traffic data. Similarly, adaptive systems will improve performance over time-of-day plans when the traffic patterns have a high degree of variability. Also, adaptive systems will reduce the adverse effects of offset transition, preemption, and transit priority. However, extensive traffic detector instrumentation is required, and intersection controller equipment for adaptive systems is often more complex than for the other control categories.

Adaptive Traffic Signals in Lee’s Summit
Summary
Full Report
See also: Innovation Library

Support. Installation of adaptive traffic signal systems are recommended for further consideration for corridors where traffic demand changes quickly or in an unpredictable manner, where traditional timing plans are unable to accommodate coordination in two directions of travel, or where travel times are 50 percent or more higher than free flow travel times after signal timing plans have been optimized.

Traffic Adaptive “Light”

A hybrid of both the responsive and adaptive systems, adaptive “light” systems retain the need for traditional timing plans and fixed schedules for timing plan implementation, but can change the split at each phase of the traffic signal cycle based on traffic measurements upstream of the intersection and demand on minor movements. Small changes in cycle time and offset are made during time periods ranging from each cycle to a few minutes. Benefits include the ability to adjust timing plans without the requirement to manually generate new plans – developed plans can be left in operation for a longer time and not require re-optimization. Also the need for additional detection is far less for a “light” system than a fully adaptive system.

For additional information refer to FHWA’s Traffic Control Systems Handbook.

902.5.5.3 How to Interconnect for Coordination

Guidance. The method of coordination explained above is the same for every controller in a system. How that data is communicated between controllers and what information needs to be accessed remotely should be determined before a system can operate properly.

902.5.5.3.1 Determine Type of Interconnect

Guidance. The most basic interconnection system only requires an output from a master to the locals with a signal that controls:

1. Offset Break
2. Dial 2 On
3. Dial 3 On
4. Flash/Free Operation On

The basic setup offers no communication back from the locals to the master, and can be adequately handled with seven-conductor hardwire. If the need for coordination on the arterial is critical, and the flexibility of remote monitoring of all intersections and multiple timing plans are needed, a closed-loop system with fiber optic communication should be used.

If there is doubt as to how well coordination will work, or funding for a permanent type of interconnect is not available, then time based coordination (TBC) utilizing internal clocks of the controllers should be used. This allows for a very good demonstration of how coordination will affect the arterial. Also, TBC can be used on intersections outside the existing system limits to determine if interconnection needs to be extended.

902.5.5.3.2 Types of Interconnect

902.5.5.3.2.1 Time Base Coordination (TBC Interconnect)

Support. The most important component in a TBC system is a highly accurate clock at each controller. Controllers have these clocks built in, and are capable of responding to internal offset breaks and timing program changes. The advantage of TBC is its lower initial cost. Disadvantages are that clock drift can cause significant disruptions in coordination and any program change needs to be made to each individual controller.

The time clock in each controller acts as the synchronizer. All controllers in the system are set to the proper time within one second of each other. It is imperative that clocks be off no more than one second of any other clock in the system in order to ensure accurate coordination.

Because there is no master controller in a TBC system, the locals must act as their own masters and be responsible for producing an accurate offset break. Even if the clocks are synchronized in a system, the offset reference point must be the same for proper coordination.

The following diagram shows how critical common offset reference can be to a TBC system:

Example: A TBC system with two controllers running a 70 second cycle starting at 6 a.m.
Controller 1 - Sync Reference: Midnight

At 6 a.m., this controller will look back to midnight and calculate when to time an offset break by starting the first 70-second cycle at midnight.

Controller 2 - Sync Reference: Start of Timing Plan

At 6 a.m., this controller will begin to time offset breaks every 70 seconds.

With the different references, Controller 1's offset break is 30 seconds after Controller 2's. With offsets programmed in relation to each controller having a similar offset reference, the coordination between these two intersections will be lost.

Because a TBC system does not have a master controller to give each local a signal as to what timing plan to run, each local is responsible for changing timing plans. The timing plans can be designated by different numbers (i.e. Cycle 3/Split 1 or Timing Plan 06) if the cycle length is similar, but for consistency, it is advisable to keep the same designation in each controller for each timing plan.

The start of each timing plan is typically at the same time for each controller, especially if the offset reference is the start of the timing plan. If all controllers are operating at a midnight reference for offset breaks, then timing plans which begin at slightly staggered times will delay the onset of proper coordination. Poor coordination will be very evident if the offset reference is at the start of the timing plan, since different starting times will give different times the offset breaks start, and ruin coordination.

902.5.5.3.2.2 Hardwire Interconnect

Support. Not every controller cabinet in use is set up for hardwire interconnection. If the signal has been operating outside a coordinated system, there is probably not an interconnect panel to which the incoming wire can be hooked up. In addition to an interconnect panel, a connection is needed to the controller. This is accomplished through a port on the controller. If the controller lacks this port, another type of controller that can accept coordination inputs will be needed.

For basic hardwire coordination, the controllers do not need to be similar models. How the controller responds to various input signals is to be reviewed. If a master controller uses the Dial 2 "on" and Dial 3 "on" outputs to call for Dial 4 operation, then all other locals must be able to recognize this combination as a call for Dial 4 operation. Failure to respond accurately to the desired timing plan can ruin any coordination effort.

One controller is to be designated as the master controller. This controller must be able to output the proper coordination signals to the locals, and internally recognize these commands and respond to them as if it were a local under TBC control. If the controller is incapable of proper output, then an external clock can be used to imitate the job of the master controller. The controller sharing the cabinet space with the master clock is then set up to respond like a local controller.

More importantly, the interconnect wire (typically 7 conductor) needs a path to run from controller to controller. This is normally accomplished by underground conduit run through pull boxes at certain points.

Each wire is designated to receive a signal from the master. One color wire is designated as the offset, others as dial or split number signals, and another as the flash/free operation signal. The cable is run into the cabinet and the wires are separated and connected to terminals wired to the controller that recognize the presence of voltage on the wire as the signal for the designated command. These systems provide more stability than TBC. The performance of the system is dependent on keeping the wire intact from the master to the locals. Many timing plans can be called for from the master using a combination of voltage inputs. There is no sharing of information from the locals back to the master in these systems.

902.5.5.3.2.3 Twisted Pair Closed Loop Interconnect

Support. The interconnect used in early closed loop systems was a cable containing three bundles of twisted pair wires. The cable was laid out similarly to the hardwire interconnect explained immediately above. This system allows for exchange of information back to the master from locals and remote connection to any local through the master. However, all of the controllers used in these systems must be the same model. The master controller in these systems is not used as a local controller and can even be located away from an intersection in a separate cabinet.

902.5.5.3.2.4 Fiber Optic Closed Loop Interconnect

Support. Fiber optic cable is the preferred method for interconnecting signals. The fiber optic cable is run into each cabinet and connected to an internal controller modem or an Ethernet switch, which translates the optical information into data the controller can recognize.

Fiber optic interconnect has several advantages over copper wire interconnect cables. Fiber does not transmit electrical energy from lightning which helps prevent lightning damage to control equipment. The signal demands on the fiber optic capacity is small enough that the cable run can be used in the future for other uses such as real-time video surveillance and connection to ITS systems nearby.

The disadvantages of fiber are the need for higher technical expertise to install and maintain the cable and expensive special equipment.

902.5.5.3.2.5 Wireless Interconnect

Support. When it is not feasible to run a physical connection between controllers, the idea of tone interconnect is rightfully eliminated, and a TBC system will not satisfy demands, wireless, microwave or other types of radio interconnect can become an option. Advantages are a conduit system between the controllers is not needed.

902.5.5.3.2.6 Mixed Interconnection

Support. Not every system needs to have the same type of interconnection between all controllers. In some locations where hardwire interconnect can be installed between controllers and other links have physical barriers which prevent conduit, wireless interconnect might be a viable option to complete the system. As long as the signals between the controllers are converted into understandable inputs and outputs by the controllers, any mix of hardwire, fiber and wireless can be used.

902.5.5.4 Communication between Controllers

Support. Regardless of the type of communication between controllers, several basic items must be received by all intersections to operate a system properly. More advanced systems can be remotely accessed and monitored from a central computer.

902.5.5.4.1 Master and Local Controllers

Support. In most systems, one controller is responsible for keeping an accurate clock running, generating an offset reference and storing timing plan start and stop times. This controller is referred to as the master controller in the system, and it can also act as the controller for a specific intersection. It transmits this information to the other controllers in the system that are called local controllers. The locals can have similar information stored in them as the master (e.g. synchronized time clock, timing plan start and stop times), but use this information only as a backup in case of failure in communication with the master. The local controller is responsible for having any timing plan the master might call for loaded into memory. The timing plan must include phase times for each interval that add up to the proper cycle length called for from the master, and the offset value unique to that intersection. Offsets and what timing plans to run are transmitted from the master and are recognized by the locals. Every local must interpret the master signal as the same command. Failure by one local to recognize this signal will disrupt coordination in the system.

902.5.5.4.2 Closed Loop

Support. Closed loop systems allow for remote access to the local controllers through the master controller in order to monitor, change or upload information at each intersection. Any information that can be programmed or stored at a local controller can be remotely accessed in a closed loop system. Remote access can be through a computer connected to the master or front panel access to the locals at the master controller.

902.5.5.4.3 Central Control Systems

Support. In centralized systems, a central computer makes control decisions and directs the actions of individual controllers. Each intersection requires only a standard controller and communication link to the central computer.

Central systems have the following characteristics:

  • They depend on reliable communications networks. Because real-time control commands are transmitted from the central computer to the local intersection, any interruption in the communications network forces the local controller to operate without that real-time control and revert to its backup plan via time-based control, but if in coordination, requires a transition from central control to local control. During this transition, signal coordination is usually lost for a short period of time. For this reason, communications networks for centralized systems usually include some form of reliable communications, such as fiber optics.
  • They depend on reliable central computers. Without the central computers, centrally controlled systems cannot happen. When the central computer is down the system has the same problems as when the communications network is down, except that the problem affects all intersections, not just the few on that communications branch. Dedicated staff to healthy computer system operations is a must for reliable central control
  • They are expensive. Most of the cost in a central system is providing the communications networks – easily a much higher investment than the central system’s software.
  • They provide excellent surveillance response time. The system’s communications network is reliable enough to allow mandatory real-time control communications. In most situations, this requirement ensures once-per-second return of surveillance information such as status of phases and detectors, and controller alarms requiring maintenance attention.
  • They allow centralized control algorithms. This is the one area where centrally controlled systems have a distinct advantage over traditional “interconnect” systems – the ability to define a signal coordination plan by need instead of physical connection to each intersection. So long as a controller has some sort of communication link back to the central computer, the intersections so designated can run in coordination. Central control allows these system limits to vary by time of day and also vary on manual needs such as incident response for detour routes.

Many traffic adaptive systems require a central computer to calculate the optimization algorithm for the entire network. Only a centrally controlled system can provide this capability.

For additional information refer to Traffic Signal Control Systems.

902.5.5.5 Diamond Interchanges

Support. Due to the close spacing of both ends of a standard or compressed diamond interchange it is extremely important to offer coordination between both ends of the interchange. This can be accomplished with pre-timed or actuated control.

This discussion primarily relates to standard diamond interchanges, however similar considerations can also be made for half diamond and other diamond interchange variations. If a signalized roadway (i.e. outer roadway) is very close to a ramp intersection, a different configuration might be required.

Option. Coordination between both ends may be accomplished by running a pre-timed operation during the critical peak times and actuated operation during the off-peak times. This option is to be evaluated carefully, as coordination during actuated operation may not be optimal.

Guidance. The merits of each setup should be evaluated for the best operation at each location. The following are recommended criteria for selecting the best setup. A cost comparison might also be helpful in deciding which setup to use.

Actuated Control With One Controller:

  • Overall interchange operates below capacity.
  • No more than one or two mainline or ramp left turn movements require critical coordination.
  • There is sufficient left turn storage between the ramps.

Actuated Control With Two Controllers:

  • Overall interchange operates below capacity during off-peak.
  • None of the movements require critical coordination during off peak.
  • There is sufficient spacing and left turn storage between ramps for non-coordinated operation during off-peak.

Pre-timed Control With Two Controllers:

  • Overall interchange operates near or at capacity.
  • Most or all of the mainline and ramp left turn movements require critical coordination.
  • There is not sufficient left turn storage between the ramps.

Diamond Interchange Examples provides examples of phasing configurations for diamond interchanges.

902.5.6 Controller Assembly Components

902.5.6.1 Controller Unit

Support. The controller unit (CU) is a solid-state traffic actuated unit. The CU interfaces with a number of low voltage (logic level) input and output functions to control signal lamps, receive inputs from detectors, to operate in coordinated systems, etc. Additional information on types of control is found in EPG 902.3.2 Types of Control.

NEMA TS1

The NEMA TS1 is the common cabinet configuration for solid state controllers. The backpanel for TS1 cabinet configurations has terminals that are used to interface with the other devices in the cabinet, call certain features of the controller as well as to display the indications on the street. Harnesses are provided to route the wiring from the controller to the rear of the backpanel. By using jumpers on the front of the backpanel, the inputs and outputs of the controller can be assigned. The physical makeup of the backpanel is described in Sec 902.

NEMA TS2

The NEMA TS2 standard replaces much of the discrete cabinet wiring with high speed serial communications interfaces. In addition, the communications allows the CU, malfunction management unit (MMU), backpanel, and detector rack to exchange information on a regular basis, performing redundant checks on each other.

The TS2 Type 1 standard uses EIA-485 serial communications interfaces and Synchronous Data Link (SDLC) communication protocol to link the major cabinet components. The serial data is converted to analog inputs and outputs in the backpanel and detector rack by a bus interface unit (BIU).

The backpanel for TS2 cabinet configurations is also used for the termination of controller inputs and outputs. Load switch drivers and other functions of the controller have terminals on the backpanel that are used to interface with the other devices in the cabinet and to display the indications on the street. The backpanel is linked to the CU through one or more BIUs. Load switch assignments and other backpanel functions are configured through the controller software. Discrete wiring is still provided between the backpanel and the MMU to monitor load switch outputs.

Type 170

Cabinets for Type 170 Controllers use a 19 in. rack assembly to secure equipment. The controller unit and a number of cabinet assemblies are attached to the racks. Cabinet assemblies consist of the power supply assembly, power distribution assembly (PDA), input file, and output file. The power supply and PDA provide power, circuit protection and surge suppression for cabinet equipment. The PDA houses the flasher and auto/flash switch. The input file houses card rack detectors, isolators and other input devices. The output file houses load switches, flash transfer relays and the monitor. Other auxiliary equipment can be rack mounted or mounted by other means. Terminations for wiring are made on the back of associated cabinet assemblies.

902.5.6.2 Conflict Monitor Unit / Malfunction Management Unit

Support. All solid-state controllers have a conflict monitor unit (CMU) or a malfunction management unit (MMU) to supervise the operation of the traffic signals. The primary purpose of this unit is to guarantee that conflicting signal indications are not displayed on the street. If such a conflict is detected, the unit will automatically put the intersection into a flashing condition. The intersection will remain in flash until the monitor unit is reset and the problem that caused the failure is corrected.

These monitors also have the ability to monitor the absence of signal indications on the street. The absence of a load on the output side of the load switch when that output is turned on will cause the monitor to put the intersection into a flashing condition. This occurs when all of the bulbs of the same color on a particular phase are burned out or when a wiring failure causes loss of power to the indications.

Standard. For phases with only one signal head (i.e. a left turn phase), load resistors shall be adequate for the output so that a single indication outage will not cause the intersection to go to flash.

Support. Each conflict monitor has a program card that is unique for that intersection. On the program card, jumpers are installed to tell the unit which movements, or channels, are considered compatible. Those positions not having jumpers are considered as conflicts and will trip the monitor.

The monitors also check the controller. If power is lost to the controller or if the internal 24-volt DC voltage of the controller is lost, the monitor will trip the intersection to flash. Some of the newer conflict monitors available exceed the minimum specifications set out by NEMA.

In NEMA TS2 cabinets, communications between the MMU and the CU allow the ability to monitor for fault conditions between the major cabinet components. Certain fault conditions will cause the intersection to flash. Some examples of these faults are the loss of serial communications, incompatibility between MMU program card and CU phase sequences and discrepancies between load switch outputs and CU phase outputs. In no case is a solid-state controller operated without a monitor unit.

902.5.6.3 Load Switches

Support. The operating voltages of the solid-state controller are 24 volts DC. This voltage must be converted to 120 volt AC in order to drive the signal indications. The load switch is a solid-state device that converts the 24-volt DC output from the controller to the 120-volt AC needed by the indications. Each load switch is able to handle three circuits. Normally, one switch is assigned for each phase and it is able to handle the green, yellow and red outputs. A separate load switch is used to control pedestrian indications, if they are used. Separate strategies are used for flashing yellow arrow indications.

902.5.6.4 Auxiliary Interfaces

Support. Other auxiliary interfaces might also be needed in the controller cabinet. Examples of these include hardwire interconnect interfaces, closed loop system interfaces and preempt interfaces. These typically consist of a panel or unit that brings external inputs, outputs and communications into the CU.

902.5.6.5 Detector Interface

Support. The detector interface provides connections between the CU and detection devices. In solid-state pre-timed and NEMA TS1 controllers, the connections are made through the back panel. In NEMA TS2 controllers, the detector inputs and outputs are linked to the CU through a BIU. In Type 170 cabinets, the input file serves as the detector interface.

902.5.7 Detectors

Support. The basic goal of a detector is to provide a valid input to the controller unit of the need to provide service. There are many types of detectors currently in use and more are being developed. Detectors range from the pedestrian push button installed on a post to video imaging systems.

There are two primary types of detection: pulse (or passage) and presence. In pulse detection the detector provides to the controller an instantaneous call that demand is there and then the call is dropped. Presence detection is able to register that demand is present and will retain the call as long as there is demand.

A resource for information on additional detector types, alternate loop designs, and many other aspects of detectors is FHWA’s Traffic Detector Handbook (also available through ITE).

902.5.7.1 Induction Loop Detectors

Support. Induction loop detectors consist of wire that is placed in the pavement that senses the passage or presence of metal objects (i.e. vehicles). The detectors are tuned to a background frequency that is based on the number of turns of wire in the saw cuts in the pavement. The passage or presence of an iron mass changes the inductance and therefore the frequency of the loop. The detector amplifier is able to measure this change in inductance and when set thresholds are exceeded, detection is registered.

902.5.7.1.1 Loop Configuration

Support. The most common arrangement of the loop detector is the quadrapole. See Comparison of Induction Loop Detector Designs for comparison of Induction Loop Detector Designs. This layout, a rectangle with an additional cut down the middle, provides the greatest sensitivity of detecting small vehicles, motorcycles, and bicycles while reducing the occurrence of cross talk between loops in adjacent lanes and false calls from adjacent lanes. The typical quadrapole loop is 6 ft. wide by 30 ft. long located at the stop bar in each lane. Quadrapole detectors shorter than 30 ft. are sometimes used when field conditions don’t allow for full size loops.

Another widely used loop configuration is the 6 ft. x 6 ft. square loop. This loop, which is centered in the lane, is typically used for detection in advance of the signal. This layout is more susceptible to cross talk and false detections but with proper adjustments of the amplifier, good performance can be achieved. This loop configuration is also typically used for vehicle counting. A variation of this loop is a diamond shaped loop. By turning the square loop 45 degrees, the more sensitive corners can be centered on the lane.

There are additional loop layouts, such as the skewed loop, round loops and other variations are available.

902.5.7.1.2 Induction Loop Detector Amplifiers

Support. Induction loop detector amplifiers are installed in the controller cabinet and are available in shelf-mount and rack-mount configurations. The shelf-mount units are self-contained and are connected to the controller backpanel through a wiring harness. Rack-mount units are installed in a card rack with separate power supplies. Type 170 and NEMA TS2 controllers use only rack-mount detectors. The TS2 detectors have additional diagnostics that are linked to the CU through the serial communications.

902.5.7.2 Probes

Support. Probes are point detectors that are installed in the pavement. There are two types: micro-loops and wireless probes. They operate on a similar principal to a conventional loop detector. Micro-loops have a continuous lead in to the controller cabinet. Wireless probes sometimes require repeaters.

Probes are typically used at locations where the pavement is not able to support the cutting of a loop or right of way is limited. The principal drawback is point detection. Through the use of several probes in an array, probes can closely simulate a long detector.

902.5.7.3 Microwave (Radar)

Support. Consisting of an emitter/sensor mounted either above or adjacent to the pavement, microwave detectors measure the Doppler shift in the microwave frequency and detect the passage of a vehicle. Simple microwave units are designed to place a call if an approaching vehicle is sensed for one lane or the entire approach. More advanced microwave detectors are capable of defining multiple zones of detection with one unit and can measure speeds. Microwave detectors are also directional; they can distinguish if a vehicle is approaching or leaving the detector.

A big advantage of microwave detectors is that they do not need to be installed in the pavement. This can allow for greater flexibility in installation as well as avoiding the problems associated with being in the pavement. The major disadvantage of microwave detectors is that they typically cannot provide presence detection.

902.5.7.4 Video Detection

Support. Video detection consists of a video camera mounted above or adjacent to the pavement and a unit that processes the video signal to generate vehicle calls and other information. The processing unit uses software to draw zones of detection on the video output.

Video detection typically has a higher initial cost, but offers the advantages of being completely out-of-pavement and allowing considerable flexibility in detector placement and configuration. Video detection usually requires several cameras to be effective and requires a rigid mounting location for the cameras. Higher mounting locations will provide more effective detection.

902.5.7.5 Closed Loop System Detectors

Support. The objective of system detectors is to gather data that the system master uses to make decisions on timing plan and offset patterns (see EPG 902.5.5 Coordination for more information). The data from these detectors can also be used as a monitoring tool for the system. The primary difference between system detectors and standard detectors is that system detectors do not have direct control over signal phase times. The master can use data from the system detectors to make system wide decisions based on parameters set by the user.

902.5.8 Responsibility for Operation and Maintenance (MUTCD Section 4D.02)

Guidance. Prior to installing any traffic control signal, the responsibility for the maintenance of the signal and all of the appurtenances, hardware, software, and the timing plan(s) should be clearly established. The responsible agency should provide for the maintenance of the traffic control signal and all of its appurtenances in a competent manner.

To this end the agency should:

A. Keep every controller assembly in effective operation in accordance with its predetermined timing schedule; check the operation of the controller assembly frequently enough to verify that it is operating in accordance with the predetermined timing schedule; and establish a policy to maintain a record of all timing changes and that only authorized persons are permitted to make timing changes;
B. Clean the optical system of the signal sections and replace the light sources as frequently as experience proves necessary;
C. Clean and service equipment and other appurtenances as frequently as experience proves necessary;
D. Provide for alternate operation of the traffic control signal during a period of failure, using flashing mode or manual control, or manual traffic direction by proper authorities as might be required by traffic volumes or congestion, or by erecting other traffic control devices;
E. Have properly skilled maintenance personnel available without undue delay for all signal malfunctions and signal indication failures;
F. Provide spare equipment to minimize the interruption of traffic control signal operation as a result of equipment failure;
G. Provide for the availability of properly skilled maintenance personnel for the repair of all components; and
H. Maintain the appearance of the signal displays and equipment.

Because of consequences that may result in failure to properly operate and maintain traffic signal control systems and equipment, appropriate procedures should be followed to assure optimum operation and maintenance of all such systems and equipment.

902.5.8.1 Agreements

Support. The municipal and/or county agreement for a project located within a municipality or county contains the general requirements for cooperation between the state and the city or county for the efficient operations of traffic signals proposed by the state. An additional agreement is executed to cover the operation and maintenance of state-installed and owned traffic control signals and devices, highway lighting, signing and pavement marking (see EPG 131 Other General Procedures). Detailed information concerning the sequence for preparing and executing a project agreement is available in EPG 235.2.3 Project Agreements. All agreements are reviewed by the Chief Counsel's Office upon receipt of the necessary information from the district. It is important the agreements be completed as early in the development of plans for construction projects as possible. Copies of all agreements are submitted to Design for submission to FHWA as part of the Plans, Specifications and Estimate (P. S. & E.) documents.

Standard. It shall be the responsibility for each district to establish record keeping, operational and maintenance programs utilizing these guidelines.

902.5.8.2 Signal Operations

Guidance. Signals, whether installed by construction project, permit, or maintenance forces, should be operated in the most efficient manner possible. If not operated at optimum efficiency, their presence can be a detriment rather than an asset to efficient traffic control. The responsibility of general signal operations rests with district personnel as assigned.

902.5.8.2.1 Signal Timing

Support. The objective of signal timing is to assign right of way to traffic in such a manner as to minimize delays and reduce the probability of crash producing conflicts.

Standard. District engineering personnel shall be responsible for all signal phasing, computing all signal timing and maintaining a signal phasing and timing record of each signalized intersection.

Guidance. When timing signals, the following principles should be followed.

1. Keep the number of phases to a minimum. As the number of phases increase, the effective green time within a cycle decreases.
2. Use the shortest possible cycle length. The shortest cycle length that will clear traffic will produce the lowest average intersection delay.

3. The distribution of green times within a cycle should be based on the traffic volumes for each approach. Computer software programs are available to assist the engineer in developing the timing.

4. Refer to EPG 902.5.36 and EPG 902.6 to ensure that the proper times for minimum green, maximum green, clearance interval, change interval, WALK, flashing DON'T WALK, etc., are used.

902.5.8.2.2 Field Observation

Support. Any theoretical method of determining signal timing, no matter how precise, is only an approximation of real world conditions. There is no substitute for field surveillance and adjustment to provide the most efficient signal timing at an intersection.

Guidance. Traffic signals should be observed each year to ensure proper operation and verify effective traffic flow. Four observation periods, a.m. peak, noon, p.m. peak and off peak, should be completed for each signal. District staff documents observed signal data on an observation sheet, and the observation date should be recorded in the Transportation Management System (TMS) database.

Personnel making the observation should be knowledgeable on signal characteristics as well as department policies and guidelines. Personnel making the observation at the intersection must be alert to both increases and decreases in vehicle volumes and, if timing adjustments are required, be prepared to adjust the timing accordingly, or notify appropriate personnel to make the adjustment. A Traffic Signal Observation Worksheet is typically used during observations.

Things to check on the Traffic Signal Observation Worksheet include:

  • Green/Yellow/Red Timing – Verify the timing is adequate for the traffic.
  • Timing Sheet / Controller Consistency – Verify the timing sheet matches the controller program.
  • Detectors – Verify detectors are in working condition.
  • Time Clock / Date – Verify the correct time and date in the controller.
  • Coordination – Verify coordination is adequate and processing traffic through the system as well as possible. Driving the system is also recommended.
  • Pedestrian Timing / Buttons – Verify timing is appropriate for pedestrians
  • using the facility and verify buttons are working.
  • Signing / Striping – Verify signing and striping are appropriate and visible.

902.5.8.2.3 Observational Techniques

Support. Verification of controller timing is a very important function that assists the observer in determining whether or not the timing is appropriate for the traffic using the intersection. It can also be used to determine the possibility of mechanical or electrical problems or unauthorized changes in timing and can serve as a check on whether or not preventive maintenance is being, or is to be performed.

Guidance. A complete check should include the timing of the green, yellow, and all red. Passage times should be checked for each approach. A stopwatch can be useful in checking the initial and extension timing settings. Each detector should also be observed to see if it is operating properly.

Where a controller is operating on more than one dial, split, offset or maximum setting, each should be independently checked during the appropriate operating time. Clocks should be checked for accuracy.

While making the timing check and observing the operation of the intersection, signal indications should be observed to see that all are being illuminated and are properly aligned. Intersection signing should also be reviewed.

902.5.8.2.4 Computer Applications for Operation

Support. Computer software can be a valuable tool in the development and operation of traffic signals. Traffic modeling software can be used to evaluate or optimize signal timing. Software specially designed for controllers can be used to monitor intersection operation and change signal timing as well as provide for the convenient storage of signal timing.

902.5.8.3 Signal Maintenance

Support. Traffic signal maintenance activities can be divided into three major areas: preventive maintenance, emergency repairs and follow-up work. Signal maintenance personnel are responsible for these tasks.

Guidance. If a traffic signal is dark for signal maintenance, consideration should be given to notifying the police agency whose jurisdiction the signal is located. If the signal can be flashed, a request for police assistance may not be necessary depending upon the time of day, traffic volumes and congestion.

If it is necessary to turn the signal off or a malfunction occurs and traffic cannot be handled by a flashing operation or stop signs cannot be installed immediately, the police should be notified and assistance requested until the signal can be repaired or stop signs installed.

902.5.8.3.1 Preventive Maintenance

Support. Preventive maintenance (PM) is the systematic inspection, cleaning, adjustment and lubrication of any piece of equipment to maintain a peak level of efficiency, or simply maintaining equipment so it will function in an optimum condition throughout its useful life. Examples of reports available for preventive maintenance include checklists for cabinet and control equipment and signal support, heads and pull boxes.

A large number of emergency repair calls, other than those that are crash associated, is an indication for an improvement of preventive maintenance. Since a good preventive maintenance program should practically eliminate the need for emergency maintenance, the major emphasis of this article is preventive maintenance.

After-hour calls may be reduced by as much as 75% due to increased emphasis on and performance of an adequate preventive maintenance program. A well maintained, efficiently operated, warranted signalized intersection is one of the best sources of public relations that can be offered by the department to the motoring public. It represents a direct savings to them in the reduction of delay time caused by poorly timed or malfunctioning signals.

Standard. A schedule of inspections shall be prepared for the purpose of preventive maintenance in accordance with the recommended guidelines set forth herein and administrative supervision maintained to see that maintenance is performed as scheduled. Unless otherwise indicated, preventive maintenance shall be conducted on a 12-month basis.

Guidance. A preventive maintenance program should include:

1. Replacement of LEDs
LED replacement should be accomplished every 7 years.
2. Signal Heads and Indications
All indications should be in the proper alignment both vertically and transversely in order to be visible from the proper driving lane. Optically limiting signals should be checked for visibility and non-visibility from the appropriate lanes. The points of signal head attachment, especially on span-wire installations and post top mounting should be checked to see that all components are physically sound. Check that all setscrews are in place and tight.
Overhead signal sections should be checked for proper clearance of the roadway. Signal faces should be checked to see that the proper visors are in place. Signal section doors should be observed to see that they are tightly secured to the signal section housing. The condition of the visors, signal section housing, etc., should be observed to see if they need repainting or replacement. Backplates should be checked for proper attachment and condition and replaced if necessary.
3. Signal Supports
Pedestal posts and bases should be checked for plumb, looseness, deterioration, missing handhole covers, painting and galvanizing. Check all bolts for tightness and rust. If top mounted signal heads are loose and cannot be tightened, consideration should be given to installing a longer pedestal post and side mounting the head.
The above mentioned checks should also be completed on posts and mast arm supports. Additionally, they should be inspected for strain, deterioration and weld cracking where the mast arm is fitted into the mast arm attachment plate.
4. Cabinets
The outside surface of the cabinet should be inspected for physical condition and painting. Doors should fit tight when closed and the gasket is to seal properly. Locks and hinges should be lubricated. The inside of the cabinet should be clean and all assemblies free of dust. Filters should be in good condition and replaced or cleaned to ensure proper ventilation. Fans should be checked for proper operation. Check anchor bolts on the cabinet for tightness to the base. Check the condition of the duct seal and cabinet seal as well as the ground rod clamp and wire. Check for wire diagrams, timing sheets, work records, intersection layout or plan sheets. Remove any brush buildup. Check police panel switches, door lock and manual control for proper operation.
5. Wiring and Power
All terminals should be checked for tightness. All relays, assemblies, modules, and connectors should also be checked for proper fit. Voltage measurements should be made and recorded at the primary input terminal(s). Low and high primary voltages should be reported to the utility company for correction if tolerances are exceeded with which the equipment is designed to work. All voltages at the field terminals should also be checked. If primary voltages are acceptable and field terminal voltages are not, the cause should be determined and corrected. Lightning protection should be present in the controller cabinet on all incoming primary voltage lines. Lightning protection devices should be examined to see that they are in condition to activate if lightning should strike. If the protective devices are damaged or are not present, they should be replaced or added. Where loop detection is present, it is highly recommended that back-to-back diodes be added across the loop terminals.
6. Flashers
Flashers should be checked to ensure they operate with a flash rate of 50 to 60 times per minute. Transfer relays and mercury relays should be checked for proper operation. If no lightning protection is present at the service line input, it should be added.
7. Time Clocks
Time Base Control (TBC) programming should be checked and evaluated at least every six months. If the particular time clocks or controllers prove to be more accurate or less accurate, longer or shorter intervals of TBC checks might be needed. Controllers should be checked for time, day, date, and daylight savings programming. Dial, split and offset changes by time of day should also be checked. Check backup operation or free operation for use in case of clock failure. Verify that all time clocks in a coordinated system are within one second. Check to make sure that all controllers in a system use the same offset reference point (midnight, for example).
8. Solid-State Controllers
Solid-state controllers should normally be repaired in the shop. Controllers with microprocessors or circuitry problems should be returned to the manufacturer for repair if needed.
Verify that the cabinet timing sheet matches the programming. Check for proper operation of programmed functions.
9. Detectors, Push Button, Etc.
Each detector should be observed to see if it is operating properly. Equipment is available for troubleshooting detectors. It is highly desirable to make and record the impedance and resistance of each loop when installed. Such information can be invaluable in trouble shooting induction loop detection systems.
Each push button should be pressed to determine whether or not it actuates the pedestrian phase. Check pedestrian signs for condition and proper alignment.
10. Interconnection
Interconnection by direct hardwire or tone via telephone line, or fiber optic cable can be used to provide signal progression. To check for free or backup operation, the interconnect should be disconnected.
Where direct hardwire is used, voltage measurements should be made at the reset terminals. Where tone is used, dB levels and frequency checks should be made. The checks must be made on one channel at a time.
11. Painting
Aluminum, stainless steel, and plastic parts typically do not need to be painted.
Signal heads, brackets, poles, posts, controller cabinets, housings and conduits above ground should be painted at least every five years, or more often if necessary to prevent corrosion and to maintain good appearance of the equipment. Before the paint is applied, all surfaces should be washed, brushed or wiped clean of all dirt, rust and foreign material. Rust spots should be scraped to bare metal then primed with a rust preventive paint before the surface is applied. The frequency with which repainting is needed will vary with the quality of paint used, the condition of the surface to which it is applied, chemicals in the atmosphere, and other conditions. Personnel of a classification other than Signal Electrician can also accomplish this work. Make sure paint is not spilled or dropped on passing vehicles. Personnel doing the painting should be instructed beforehand as to the proper procedure in dealing with this type of situation.
12. Preemption Equipment
Preemption equipment should be regularly checked for proper operation. Because preemption equipment is typically installed at critical intersections (near railroad tracks or emergency vehicle routes) malfunctioning preemption equipment should be repaired or replaced as quickly as possible. Preemption programming should also be regularly checked to ensure vehicles are being cleared properly.
13. Span Wire and Poles
Wood poles should be checked for bending and general condition. Guy cables and anchors should be checked for tautness or for signs of strain. The U-bolts or cable clamps should be checked for tightness. Anchors should be checked for movement and general condition.
Span wire cable supports should not have excessive sag that will allow the clearance between the roadway and the bottom of the signal head to be less than 16 ft. If excessive sag is found, the cable should be tightened. The cable's physical condition should be checked to see that there are no broken strands. Also, the bottom of the signal head should not be greater than 19 ft. above the roadway. Tether cables should generally be maintained in a straight line across the bottom of the signal heads.
14. Pull Boxes
All pull boxes should be checked for apron cracks, lid tightness and abnormal amounts of water. Consideration should be given to adding a drain in the case of abnormal amounts of water. Loop splices and the grounding system should also be checked for tightness and condition.
15. Miscellaneous
The power service disconnect box should be properly locked and free of rust. Detection loops should be visually inspected. District office personnel should be contacted as soon as possible if a phase is placed on recall due to a loop problem. Overhead power lines should be free of tree branches and other obstacles. Contact the power company if there is a problem with the overhead power lines.
The preceding is intended to serve as a guide while performing preventive maintenance. Such maintenance cannot be successful without considerable judgment on the part of each individual involved. In the long run, good preventive maintenance will reduce the amount of emergency calls and is to make the job easier.
Maintenance requires prior planning, especially on the part of the individual doing the work. Nothing is accomplished if one arrives at the intersection only to find the needed part or tool not on the signal truck. Parts and modules that will enable the repair or maintenance of most types of controllers or systems should be carried on each truck. In addition, test equipment and tools to perform the work should also be provided.

902.5.8.3.2 Conflict Monitor and Malfunction Monitor Testing

Guidance. It is important to test monitors periodically to assure their reliability. Monitors should be tested according to the following guidelines: Annual tests should be conducted and recorded as part of the annual preventive maintenance procedure. The documentation of these procedures should be stored with other permanent records. It is recommended that field tests be performed at a low traffic volume period to minimize disruption to traffic.

902.5.8.3.2.1 Conflict Monitor Unit Test Procedure

Guidance. The conflict monitor should be tested annually with a computerized conflict monitor tester. This is done by removing the intersection's monitor and running a complete test with the conflict monitor tester unit. A spare monitor should be installed temporarily while the test is being performed or monitors may be shop-tested by rotating pre-tested monitors to the field. Documentation of the tested monitor should be made which includes the following:

1. Date
2. Name of Technician
3. Location - includes intersection name, city and/or county
4. Serial number of conflict monitor
5. Comments regarding fail or pass conditions

Failed monitors should either be repaired so that they pass the monitor test or replaced with a monitor that passes the test.

To assure the reliability of the computerized monitor tester, a calibration of the unit should be done annually. The units need to be returned to the manufacturer in order for this calibration to be done properly. The districts should establish a yearly program of having their conflict monitor testers returned to the manufacturer and the recalibration performed.

902.5.8.3.2.2 Cabinet Test Procedures

Guidance. Two tests should be performed to check the cabinet wiring and operation as follows.

(A) Conflict Test
An actual conflict condition is induced by means of a jumper wire. One end of the jumper wire should be placed on one green terminal output and the other end should be placed on a conflicting green terminal output. Once power is applied to either green terminal, the conflict monitor is to trip causing the intersection signal to go to flashing operation. It is important to observe traffic and trip the monitor at a time that would be least disruptive to traffic. A push button with leads and alligator clips can be helpful for performing this test.
After the monitor is tripped, the cabinet and the intersection are then checked to assure that all equipment is operating properly and the flashing indications are correct on the street. At a minimum, this test is performed annually. Documentation of this test is made with the preventive maintenance records indicating the date that the test passed and any needed repairs.
(B) Harness Test
For solid-state pre-timed, NEMA TS1 and Type 170 controllers, the monitor harness or harnesses should be tested for continuity and to assure that all wiring to the monitor is in tact and that the correct load switch circuit goes to the correct channel in the conflict monitor. The results of the test are recorded on the Conflict Monitor Continuity Checklist.
Conflict Monitor Continuity Checklist
Conflict Monitor Continuity Checklist
This test should be performed during initial cabinet set-up and any time changes are made that affect the monitor wiring or operation (i.e. phasing changes). This test can also be performed at other times as needed. The harness test is not required for NEMA TS2 controllers since the cabinet diagnostics continuously check cabinet conditions.
A recommended harness tester for NEMA monitors is available. The harness tester also shows connector terminations for 6- and 12-channel conflict monitors. More detailed information on conflict monitors is found in the NEMA Standards Publication No. TS-1, Traffic Control Systems. A similar device can also be developed for Type 170 controllers. This tester can be helpful as a troubleshooting tool. The tester can be used to isolate some cabinet wiring problems.
(C) Program Card
The program card should be inspected for physical condition. Jumpers should be correct for the specific intersection in question.

902.5.8.3.3 Emergency Maintenance

Guidance. Occasionally traffic signals, flashers and lights malfunction or are damaged from vehicle crashes, acts of nature and/or other unexplained phenomenon. Some of these occurrences will constitute an emergency requiring an immediate response, while others may indicate a lower priority response. Sound judgment should be used when evaluating the priority of signal malfunctions or damage.

Flashers in general have lower priority than traffic signals. Refer to the Incident Response Plan for detailed information regarding emergency response for traffic signals, flashers and lights.

During after-hours, the electrician may have to contact the highway patrol or local police and the power company.
During after-hours, the electrician may have to contact the highway patrol or local police and the power company.

902.5.8.3.4 Maintenance Limits

Guidance. No major repair should be attempted while the controller is in service. Where possible, the availability of a spare unit for each type of assembly minimizes interruption of signal operation when that unit must be removed for servicing or repair.

Field servicing of solid-state equipment should be limited to the exchange of modules and assemblies known to be good for those thought to be defective. Due to the sensitivity of some parts, it is important that they be stored in the shipping containers until used and then handled with minimum hand contact.

902.5.8.3.5 Equipment Replacement and Repair

Guidance. Sound judgment should be used when making decisions about replacing or repairing malfunctioning signal equipment. When possible, field repairs should be limited to operations that result in minimal down time to signal operation. Shop repairs are preferable where spare equipment can be installed to maintain signal operation.

When deciding to repair or replace a piece of equipment, consider these factors:

- Relative condition of piece of equipment.
- Remaining usable life of piece of equipment.
- Cost of repairs in personnel time or repair shop costs vs. cost of new equipment.
- Availability of replacement parts.
- Is the piece of equipment functionally obsolete?

It could be more cost effective to replace a piece of equipment than to repair it.

Option. Repair work may be performed by district personnel or may be sent to a repair shop. This decision is based on the available expertise of personnel, time demands on the shop and the nature of the malfunction.

902.5.8.3.5.1 Crash Damage to Controllers

Occasionally a crash will result in the destruction of a signal controller. Whenever this occurs, MoDOT tries to collect for the damages incurred. The following depreciation schedule shall be applied when determining the present worth of an existing controller that has been damaged.

Age, In YearsWorth, % of Original Value
0-1 100
1-2 99
2-3 98
3-4 96
4-5 93
5-6 89
6-7 85
7-8 80
8-9 74
9-10 67
10-1160
11-1252
12-1343
13-1433
14-1523
15-1612
16 or More 2
902.5.8.3.5.2 Crash Damage to Signal Heads and Supports

Whenever damages occur to signal heads and their supports, collection for damages shall also be attempted. Straight line depreciation shall be used with a 15-year life used for all signal heads and all temporary span wire supports and a 25-year life used for all permanent supports.

902.5.8.4 Record Keeping

Standard. . District Traffic shall keep and maintain documentation on each signalized intersection, including the collection of signalized intersection photographs. Each district signal shop will also be required to maintain (1) Signal Maintenance Files and (2) a Module and Assembly Repair File. The Signal Maintenance File shall be kept on a per intersection basis, whereas the Module and Assembly Repair File shall be kept on a module and assembly type basis. Refer to Figure 902.5.8.4.1 for guidelines regarding record keeping for signal-related information.

Guidance. Care should be taken to ensure the information being recorded is accurate and legible. Completing documentation for each signalized intersection requires more time of those involved in signal operation and maintenance, but the time required to do so is considered minimal and over a period of time will more than justify the time spent.

It is important to retain records for the appropriate amount of time before information is discarded. For more specific details on document retention, review MoDOT’s Retention Schedule.

In general, design and construction-related information such as design plans and contracts are retained permanently.. For signals constructed on contracts administered by Construction, Construction typically retains contract records. Design typically retains plans for projects that are let under the right of way and construction program. For signals constructed by permit, department forces, or a combination of department forces and contract work, district traffic is responsible for retaining design and construction documentation. Signal photographs are often used as a reference to design information and therefore shall also be retained permanentlyby the district.

All other records pertaining to operation and maintenance of traffic signals should be retained a minimum of seven years. District traffic is responsible for retaining these records. The following reports and records should be maintained. Some example forms for various records are included, but districts may choose to modify them as needed in order to meet their specific needs.

1. Signal and Flasher Inventory
Traffic Signal, Flasher, and Lighting Inventories

These inventories contain each signalized intersection, flasher installation, and lighting installation on MoDOT right of way. The inventories are part of the Transportation Management System (TMS). District personnel shall maintain the TMS signal, flasher, and lighting inventories on an ongoing basis. Guidance is available in the Traffic Signal, Flasher, and Lighting Training Manual.

2. Intersection Plans
Intersection plans are provided for each signalized intersection, although plans for older installations may be difficult to find. At a minimum, the documentation should be in the form of signal plan sheets from the final plans of the project or drawings specially prepared by district office personnel. The plans should show the lane widths, all signal indications and their location, detector placement, and approximate geometrics with regard to skew. Intersection plans should be available in the district office, in the signal shop’s signal maintenance file, and may be scanned and stored in the signal inventory in TMS.
3. Intersection Photographs
Photos should be taken during the green indication of each movement to provide a reference for the phasing at each intersection. This may require more than one photo for an approach if turn movements occur separately from the through movement. The photos should be taken from a position back from the intersection so that the full width of the approach at the intersection is shown. Each photograph should be identified as to intersection, date photographed, and direction of travel shown, and log point. District personnel should store the photographs within the TMS signal inventory in TMS. Photographs shall be updated as needed, but always retain the older photos, as well. It may also be beneficial to keep photographs of the signal cabinets, components within the signal cabinet, the power supply, advanced warning signs, etc.
4. Signal Phasing and Timing Record
Signal phasing and timing is determined and computed by district office personnel and stored. Old signal phasing and timing should be archived. No changes in phasing or timing, except for recall, should be made unless first approved by district office personnel. District office personnel should be notified as soon as possible after a phase has been placed on recall. Whenever a phasing or timing change is authorized, such authorization should be reflected by indicating the change on the existing form or the preparation of a new form. This documentation should be accessible at the controller cabinet, at the signal shop, and at the district office. It may also be stored within the signal inventory in TMS.
5. Traffic Signal Service History
A historical record of the service history should be kept in the controller cabinet. Entries should be completed by anyone observing the operation of the equipment or performing maintenance. The date of the observation or call to the controller should be indicated with a very brief note of explanation and initialed by the person entering the information. This form should be filed in the signal shop whenever the sheet becomes full. See Figure 902.5.8.4.2.
6. Preventive Maintenance Check List
Preventive Maintenance (PM) Checklists

There are checklists available for preventive maintenance : PM Checklist for Signal Supports, Heads, Pull Boxes and PM Checklist for Cabinet and Control Equipment. Each list contains a number of items relating to the intersection operation that should be examined on a periodic basis in accordance with the recommended guidelines set forth herein. Each item on the list should be examined during the PM check. A check opposite of each individual item indicates that item has been examined and found in proper operating and physical condition. On completion, the PM checklist should be returned to the signal shop for review and subsequently placed in the signal maintenance file for that particular intersection.

7. Signal Maintenance Work Records
This record is essentially an emergency work record that can be used to record any maintenance activity performed at an intersection that is not considered preventive maintenance. The record should be maintained as either a paper copy or a computer database (Figure 902.5.8.4.3 and Figure 902.5.8.4.4).
8. Bench Repair Label
The bench repair sticker should be attached to any component, module, or assembly when it is removed from the intersection for return to the signal shop for repair. When the unit is repaired, the label is completed, indicating what was done or replaced during the repair. When the unit is ready to be returned to service, the label is then placed in the module and assembly repair file for that particular unit.
9. Conflict Monitor Information
Conflict monitor test results, cabinet test results, conflict monitor card programming and any other important information should be kept in the signal shop. Forms for documenting conflict monitor programming include:
- Figure 902.5.8.4.5 (Conflict Monitor Program Card)
- Figure 902.5.8.4.6 (NEMA TS2 Conflict Monitor Program Card)
- and Conflict Monitor Program.
10. Cabinet Drawings
Cabinet drawings and other critical paperwork should be kept in the controller cabinet and in the signal shop, and may also be stored in the signal inventory in TMS.

902.5.9 Provisions for Pedestrians (MUTCD Section 4D.03)

Support. EPG 902.6 contains additional information regarding pedestrian signals and EPG 902.7 contains additional information regarding pedestrian hybrid beacons.

Standard. The design and operation of traffic control signals shall take into consideration the needs of pedestrian as well as vehicular traffic.

If engineering judgment indicates the need for provisions for a given pedestrian movement, signal faces conveniently visible to pedestrians shall be provided by pedestrian signal heads (see EPG 902.6) or a vehicular signal face(s) for a concurrent vehicular movement.

Guidance. Accessible pedestrian signals (see EPG 902.6.9) that provide information in non-visual formats (such as audible tones, speech messages, and/or vibrating surfaces) should be provided where determined appropriate by engineering judgment.

Where pedestrian movements regularly occur, pedestrians should be provided with sufficient time to cross the roadway by adjusting the traffic control signal operation and timing to provide sufficient crossing time every cycle or by providing pedestrian detectors.

If it is necessary or desirable to prohibit certain pedestrian movements at a traffic control signal location, No Pedestrian Crossing (R9-3) signs (see MUTCD Section 2B.51) should be used if it is not practical to provide a barrier or other physical feature to physically prevent the pedestrian movements.

Standard (MUTCD Section 9D.02 Signal Operations for Bicycles). At installations where visibility-limited signal faces are used, signal faces shall be adjusted so bicyclists for whom the indications are intended can see the signal indications. If the visibility-limited signal faces cannot be aimed to serve the bicyclist, then separate signal faces shall be provided for the bicyclist.

On bikeways, signal timing and acuation shall be reviewed and adjusted to consider the needs of bicyclists.

902.5.10 Meaning of Vehicular Signal Indications (MUTCD Section 4D.04)

Support. No matter how complex the traffic signal installation or how elementary or sophisticated the control equipment, the sole link from the control mechanism to the driver is the signal indication. Unless the correct information is conveyed to and understood by the driver, the total installation might not function as desired.

It is important that the proper selection of indications and signing be made so a high degree of consistency can be maintained with regard to standardizing the meaning of the indications, thereby conveying to the motorist the type of operation to be encountered at the intersection. Intersection design, signal locations, indications and sequences are standardized wherever possible for better driver education, response and obedience, particularly in a series of adjacent signal installations.

The “Uniform Vehicle Code” (see EPG 900) is the primary source for the standards for the meaning of vehicular signal indications to both vehicle operators and pedestrians as provided in this Section, and the standards for the meaning of separate pedestrian signal head indications as provided in EPG 902.6.2.

The physical area that is defined as being “within the intersection” is dependent upon the conditions that are described in the definition of intersection in EPG 900.

Standard. The following meanings shall be given to highway traffic signal indications for vehicles and pedestrians:

A. Steady green signal indications shall have the following meanings:
1. Vehicular traffic facing a CIRCULAR GREEN signal indication is permitted to proceed straight through or turn right or left except as such movement is modified by lane-use signs, turn prohibition signs, lane markings, roadway design, separate turn signal indications, or other traffic control devices.
Such vehicular traffic, including vehicles turning right or left, shall yield the right-of-way to:
(a) Pedestrians lawfully within an associated crosswalk, and
(b) Other vehicles lawfully within the intersection.
In addition, vehicular traffic turning left shall yield the right-of-way to other vehicles approaching from the opposite direction so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time when such turning vehicle is moving across or within the intersection.
2. Vehicular traffic facing a GREEN ARROW signal indication, displayed alone or in combination with another signal indication, is permitted to cautiously enter the intersection only to make the movement indicated by such arrow, or such other movement as is permitted by other signal indications displayed at the same time or make a U-turn movement from the left turn lane (which shall only be allowed during the protected only mode for left turns and lane-use signs R10-30c and the U-TURN ON GREEN ARROW R10-30b signs are installed).
Such vehicular traffic, including vehicles turning right or left or making a U-turn movement, shall yield the right of way to:
(a) Pedestrians lawfully within an associated crosswalk, and
(b) Other vehicles lawfully within the intersection.
3. Pedestrians facing a CIRCULAR GREEN signal indication, unless otherwise directed by a pedestrian signal indication or other traffic control device, are permitted to proceed across the roadway within any marked or unmarked associated crosswalk. The pedestrian shall yield the right of way to vehicles lawfully within the intersection or so close as to create an immediate hazard at the time that the green signal indication is first displayed.
4. Pedestrians facing a GREEN ARROW signal indication, unless otherwise directed by a pedestrian signal indication or other traffic control device, shall not cross the roadway.
B. Steady yellow signal indications shall have the following meanings:
1. Vehicular traffic facing a steady CIRCULAR YELLOW signal indication is thereby warned that the related green movement or the related flashing arrow movement is being terminated or that a steady red signal indication will be displayed immediately thereafter when vehicular traffic shall not enter the intersection. The rules set forth concerning vehicular operation under the movement(s) being terminated shall continue to apply while the steady CIRCULAR YELLOW signal indication is displayed.
2. Vehicular traffic facing a steady YELLOW ARROW signal indication is thereby warned that the related GREEN ARROW movement or the related flashing arrow movement is being terminated. The rules set forth concerning vehicular operation under the movement(s) being terminated shall continue to apply while the steady YELLOW ARROW signal indication is displayed.
3. Pedestrians facing a steady CIRCULAR YELLOW or YELLOW ARROW signal indication, unless otherwise directed by a pedestrian signal indication or other traffic control device shall not start to cross the roadway.
C. Steady red signal indications shall have the following meanings:
1. Vehicular traffic facing a steady CIRCULAR RED signal indication, unless entering the intersection to make another movement permitted by another signal indication, shall stop at a clearly marked stop line; but if there is no stop line, traffic shall stop before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection; or if there is no crosswalk, then before entering the intersection; and shall remain stopped until a signal indication to proceed is displayed, or as provided below.
Except when a traffic control device is in place prohibiting a turn on red, vehicular traffic facing a steady CIRCULAR RED signal indication is permitted to enter the intersection to turn right, or to turn left from a one-way street into a one-way street, after stopping. The right to proceed with the turn shall be subject to the rules applicable after making a stop at a STOP sign.
2. Vehicular traffic facing a steady RED ARROW signal indication shall not enter the intersection to make the movement indicated by the arrow and, unless entering the intersection to make another movement permitted by another signal indication, shall stop at a clearly marked stop line; but if there is no stop line, before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection; or if there is no crosswalk, then before entering the intersection; and shall remain stopped until a signal indication permitting the movement indicated by such RED ARROW is displayed.
3. Unless otherwise directed by a pedestrian signal indication or other traffic control device, pedestrians facing a steady CIRCULAR RED or steady RED ARROW signal indication shall not enter the roadway.
D. A flashing green signal indication has no meaning and shall not be used.
E. Flashing yellow signal indications shall have the following meanings:
1. Vehicular traffic, on an approach to an intersection, facing a flashing CIRCULAR YELLOW signal indication is permitted to cautiously enter the intersection to proceed straight through or turn right or left except as such movement is modified by lane use signs, turn prohibition signs, lane markings, roadway design, separate turn signal indications, or other traffic control devices.
Such vehicular traffic, including vehicles turning right or left, shall yield the right of way to:
(a) Pedestrians lawfully within an associated crosswalk, and
(b) Other vehicles lawfully within the intersection.
In addition, vehicular traffic turning left shall yield the right of way to other vehicles approaching from the opposite direction so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time when such turning vehicle is moving across or within the intersection.
2. Vehicular traffic, on an approach to an intersection, facing a flashing YELLOW ARROW signal indication, displayed alone or in combination with another signal indication, is permitted to cautiously enter the intersection only to make the movement indicated by such arrow, or other such movement as is permitted by other signal indications displayed at the same time.
Such vehicular traffic, including vehicles turning right or left, shall yield the right of way to:
(a) Pedestrians lawfully within an associated crosswalk, and
(b) Other vehicles lawfully within the intersection.
In addition, vehicular traffic turning left shall yield the right of way to other vehicles approaching from the opposite direction so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time when such turning vehicle is moving across or within the intersection.
3. Pedestrians facing any flashing yellow signal indication at an intersection, unless otherwise directed by a pedestrian signal indication or other traffic control device, are permitted to proceed across the roadway within any marked or unmarked associated crosswalk. Pedestrians shall yield the right of way to vehicles lawfully within the intersection at the time that the flashing yellow signal indication is first displayed.
4. When a flashing CIRCULAR YELLOW signal indication(s) is displayed as a beacon (see EPG 902.12) to supplement another traffic control device, road users are notified that there is a need to pay extra attention to the message contained thereon or that the regulatory or warning requirements of the other traffic control device, which might not be applicable at all times, are currently applicable.
F. Flashing red signal indications shall have the following meanings:
1. Vehicular traffic, on an approach to an intersection, facing a flashing CIRCULAR RED signal indication shall stop at a clearly marked stop line; but if there is no stop line, before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection; or if there is no crosswalk, at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway before entering the intersection. The right to proceed shall be subject to the rules applicable after making a stop at a STOP sign.
2. Vehicular traffic, on an approach to an intersection, facing a flashing RED ARROW signal indication if intending to turn in the direction indicated by the arrow shall stop at a clearly marked stop line; but if there is no stop line, before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection; or if there is no crosswalk, at the point nearest the intersecting roadway where the driver has a view of approaching traffic on the intersecting roadway before entering the intersection. The right to proceed with the turn shall be limited to the direction indicated by the arrow and shall be subject to the rules applicable after making a stop at a STOP sign.
3. Pedestrians facing any flashing red signal indication at an intersection, unless otherwise directed by a pedestrian signal indication or other traffic control device, are permitted to proceed across the roadway within any marked or unmarked associated crosswalk. Pedestrians shall yield the right of way to vehicles lawfully within the intersection at the time that the flashing red signal indication is first displayed.
4. When a flashing CIRCULAR RED signal indication(s) is displayed as a beacon (see EPG 902.12) to supplement another traffic control device, road users are notified that there is a need to pay extra attention to the message contained thereon or that the regulatory requirements of the other traffic control device, which might not be applicable at all times, are currently applicable. Use of this signal indication shall be limited to supplementing STOP (R1-1), DO NOT ENTER (R5-1), or WRONG WAY (R5-1a) signs, and to applications where compliance with the supplemented traffic control device requires a stop at a designated point.

902.5.11 Application of Steady Signal Indications (MUTCD Section 4D.05)

Standard. When a traffic control signal is being operated in a steady (stop-and-go) mode, at least one indication in each signal face shall be displayed at any given time.

A signal face(s) that controls a particular vehicular movement during any interval of a cycle shall control that same movement during all intervals of the cycle.

Steady signal indications shall be applied as follows:

A. A steady CIRCULAR RED signal indication:
1. Shall be displayed when it is intended to prohibit traffic, except pedestrians directed by a pedestrian signal head, from entering the intersection or other controlled area. Turning after stopping is permitted as stated in Item C.1 in EPG 902.5.10.
2. Shall be displayed with the appropriate GREEN ARROW signal indications when it is intended to permit traffic to make a specified turn or turns, and to prohibit traffic from proceeding straight ahead through the intersection or other controlled area, except in protected only mode operation (see EPG 902.5.25 and EPG 902.5.32), or in protected/permissive mode operation with separate turn signal faces (see EPG 902.5.26 and EPG 902.5.33).
B. A steady CIRCULAR YELLOW signal indication:
1. Shall be displayed following a CIRCULAR GREEN signal indication in the same signal face.
2. Shall not be displayed in conjunction with the change from the CIRCULAR RED signal indication to the CIRCULAR GREEN signal indication.
3. Shall be followed by a CIRCULAR RED signal indication except that, when entering preemption operation, the return to the previous CIRCULAR GREEN signal indication shall be permitted following a steady CIRCULAR YELLOW signal indication (see EPG 902.5.38).
4. Shall not be displayed to an approach from which drivers are turning left permissively unless one of the following conditions exists:
(a) A steady CIRCULAR YELLOW signal indication is also simultaneously being displayed to the opposing approach;
(b) An engineering study has determined that, because of unique intersection conditions, the condition described in Item (a) cannot reasonably be implemented without causing significant operational or safety problems and that the volume of impacted left-turning traffic is relatively low, and those left-turning are advised that a steady CIRCULAR YELLOW signal indication is not simultaneously being displayed to the opposing traffic if this operation occurs continuously by the installation near the left-most signal head of a W25-1 sign (see EPG 903.6.39) with the legend ONCOMING TRAFFIC HAS EXTENDED GREEN; or
(c) Drivers are advised of the operation if it occurs only occasionally, such as during a preemption sequence, by the installation near the left-most signal head of a W25-2 sign (see EPG 903.6.39) with the legend ONCOMING TRAFFIC MAY HAVE EXTENDED GREEN.
C. A steady CIRCULAR GREEN signal indication shall be displayed only when it is intended to permit traffic to proceed in any direction that is lawful and practical.
D. A steady RED ARROW signal indication shall be displayed when it is intended to prohibit traffic, except pedestrians directed by a pedestrian signal head, from entering the intersection or other controlled area to make the indicated turn. Turning on a steady RED ARROW signal indication shall not be permitted.
E. A steady YELLOW ARROW signal indication:
1. Shall be displayed in the same direction as a GREEN ARROW signal indication following a GREEN ARROW signal indication in the same signal face, unless the GREEN ARROW signal indication and a CIRCULAR GREEN signal indication terminate simultaneously in the same signal face.
2. Shall be displayed in the same direction as a flashing YELLOW ARROW signal indication following a flashing YELLOW ARROW signal indication in the same signal face, when the flashing arrow indication is displayed as part of a steady mode operation, if the signal face will subsequently display a steady red signal indication.
3. Shall not be displayed in conjunction with the change from a steady RED ARROW or flashing YELLOW ARROW signal indication to a GREEN ARROW signal indication, except when entering preemption operation as provided in Item 5(a).
4. Shall not be displayed when any conflicting vehicular movement has a green or yellow signal indication or any conflicting pedestrian movement has a WALKING PERSON (symbolizing WALK) or flashing UPRAISED HAND (symbolizing DONT WALK) signal indication, except that a steady left-turn YELLOW ARROW signal indication used to terminate a flashing left-turn YELLOW ARROW signal indication in a signal face controlling a permissive left-turn movement as described in EPG 902.5.24 and EPG 902.5.26 shall be permitted to be displayed when a CIRCULAR YELLOW signal indication is displayed for the opposing through movement. Vehicles departing in the same direction shall not be considered in conflict if, for each turn lane with moving traffic, there is a separate departing lane, and pavement markings or raised channelization clearly indicate which departure lane to use.
5. Shall not be displayed to terminate a flashing arrow signal indication on an approach from which drivers are turning left permissively unless one of the following conditions exists:
(a) A steady CIRCULAR YELLOW signal indication is also simultaneously being displayed to the opposing approach;
(b) An engineering study has determined that, because of unique intersection conditions, the condition described in Item (a) cannot reasonably be implemented without causing significant operational or safety problems and that the volume of impacted left-turning traffic is relatively low, and those left-turning drivers are advised that a steady CIRCULAR YELLOW signal indication is not simultaneously being displayed to the opposing traffic if this operation occurs continuously by the installation near the left-most signal head of a W25-1 sign (see EPG 903.6.39) with the legend ONCOMING TRAFFIC HAS EXTENDED GREEN; or
(c) Drivers are advised of the operation if it occurs only occasionally, such as during a preemption sequence, by the installation near the left-most signal head of a W25-2 sign (see EPG 903.6.39) with the legend ONCOMING TRAFFIC MAY HAVE EXTENDED GREEN.
6. Shall be terminated by a RED ARROW signal indication for the same direction or a CIRCULAR RED signal indication except:
(a) When entering preemption operation, the display of a GREEN ARROW signal indication or a flashing arrow signal indication shall be permitted following a steady YELLOW ARROW signal indication.
(b) When the movement controlled by the arrow is to continue on a permissive mode basis during an immediately following CIRCULAR GREEN or flashing YELLOW ARROW signal indication.
F. A steady GREEN ARROW signal indication:
1. Shall be displayed only to allow vehicular movements, in the direction indicated, (or U-turn to the left during protected only mode and if lane use sign R10-30c and U-TURN ON GREEN ARROW R10-30b signs are used),that are not in conflict with other vehicles moving on a green or yellow signal indication and are not in conflict with pedestrians crossing in compliance with a WALKING PERSON (symbolizing WALK) or flashing UPRAISED HAND (symbolizing DONT WALK) signal indication. Vehicles departing in the same direction shall not be considered in conflict if, for each turn lane with moving traffic, there is a separate departing lane, and pavement markings or raised channelization clearly indicate which departure lane to use.
2. Shall be displayed on a signal face that controls a left-turn movement when said movement is not in conflict with other vehicles moving on a green or yellow signal indication (when U-turns to the left are allowed during a protected only mode, a right-turn GREEN ARROW signal indication for conflicting right turners shall not be simultaneously displayed) and is not in conflict with pedestrians crossing in compliance with a WALKING PERSON (symbolizing WALK) or flashing UPRAISED HAND (symbolizing DONT WALK) signal indication. Vehicles departing in the same direction shall not be considered in conflict if, for each turn lane with moving traffic, there is a separate departing lane, and pavement markings or raised channelization clearly indicate which departure lane to use.
3. Shall not be required on the stem of a T-intersection or for turns from a one-way street.

Option. An indication for a right turn vehicle is normally not required if there is a channelizing island that creates a "free" right turn. A yield sign would normally control a “free” right turn. In cases where right turn motorists cannot readily judge conflicting movements, it may be necessary to place channelized right turns under signal control. If not otherwise prohibited, steady red (only for left turns), yellow, and green turn arrow signal indications may be used instead of steady circular red, yellow, and green signal indications in a signal face on an approach where all traffic is required to turn or where the straight-through movement is not physically possible.

Support. EPG 902.5.35 contains information regarding the signalization of approaches that have a shared left-turn/right-turn lane and no through movement.

Standard. If supplemental signal faces are used, the following limitations shall apply:

A. Left-turn arrows shall not be used in near-right signal faces.
B. Right-turn arrows shall not be used in far-left signal faces. A far-side median-mounted signal face shall be considered a far-left signal for this application.

The following combinations of signal indications shall not be simultaneously displayed on any one signal face:

A. CIRCULAR RED with CIRCULAR YELLOW;
B. CIRCULAR GREEN with CIRCULAR RED.

Additionally, the above combinations shall not be simultaneously displayed on an approach as a result of the combination of displays from multiple signal faces unless the display is created by a signal face(s) devoted exclusively to the control of a right-turning movement and:

A. The signal face(s) controlling the right-turning movement is visibility-limited from the adjacent through movement or positioned to minimize potential confusion to approaching road users, or
B. A RIGHT TURN SIGNAL (R10-10R) sign (see EPG 902.5.30 through 902.5.33) is mounted adjacent to the signal face(s) controlling the right-turning movement.

The following combinations of signal indications shall not be simultaneously displayed on any one signal face or as a result of the combination of displays from multiple signal faces on an approach:

A. CIRCULAR GREEN with CIRCULAR YELLOW;
B. GREEN ARROW with YELLOW ARROW pointing in the same direction;
C. RED ARROW with YELLOW ARROW pointing in the same direction; or
D. GREEN ARROW with RED ARROW pointing in the same direction.

Except as otherwise provided in EPG 902.7.3 and EPG 902.8.4, the same signal section shall not be used to display both a flashing yellow and a steady yellow indication during steady mode operation.

Guidance. No movement that creates an unexpected crossing of pathways of moving vehicles or pedestrians should be allowed during any green or yellow interval, except when all three of the following conditions are met:

A. The movement involves only slight conflict, and
B. Serious traffic delays are substantially reduced by permitting the conflicting movement, and
C. Drivers and pedestrians subjected to the unexpected conflict are effectively warned thereof by a sign.

902.5.12 Signal Indications – Design, Illumination, Color, and Shape (MUTCD Section 4D.06)

Standard. Each signal indication, except those used for pedestrian signal heads and lane-use control signals, shall be circular or arrow.

Letters or numbers (including those associated with countdown displays) shall not be displayed as part of a vehicular signal indication.

Strobes shall not be used within or adjacent to any signal indication.

Except for the flashing signal indications and the pre-emption confirmation lights that are expressly allowed by the provisions of this article, flashing displays shall not be used within or adjacent to any signal indications.

Each circular signal indication shall emit a single color: red, yellow or green.

Each arrow signal indication shall emit a single color: red, yellow or green.

The arrow, which shall show only one direction, shall be the only illuminated part of an arrow signal indication.

Arrows shall be pointed:

A. Horizontally in the direction of the turn to indicate a turn at approximately or greater than a right angle, or
B. Upward with a slope at an angle approximately equal to that of the turn if the angle of the turn is substantially less than a right angle, or
C. Except as provided in the Guidance below, the requirements of the publication entitled “Vehicle Traffic Control Signal Heads” (see EPG 900.1.11) that pertain to the aspects of the signal head design that affect the display of the signal indications shall be met.
LED Signal
Summary, 2010
LED Signal Replacement report, 2011
Report, 2000
See also: Innovation Library

Guidance. The intensity and distribution of light from each illuminated signal lens should comply with the publications entitled “Vehicle Traffic Control Signal Heads” and “Traffic Signal Lamps” (see EPG 900.1.11).

Standard. References to signal lenses in this section shall not be used to limit signal optical units to incandescent lamps within optical assemblies that include lenses.

All signal indications shall be Light Emitting Diode (LED).

Support. Research has resulted in signal optical units that are not lenses, such as, but not limited to, light emitting diode (LED) traffic signal modules. Some units are practical for all signal indications, and some are practical for specific types such as visibility-limited signal indications.

Guidance. If a signal indication is so bright that it causes excessive glare during nighttime conditions, some form of automatic dimming should be used to reduce the brilliance of the signal indication.

902.5.13 Size of Vehicular Indications (MUTCD Section 4D.07)

Standard. There shall be two nominal diameter sizes for vehicular signal indications: 8 in. and 12 inches.

Except for emergency-vehicle traffic signals, 12 in. signal indications shall be used for all signal sections in all signal faces.

Eight-inch circular signal indications are used in signal faces only for the flashing yellow signal indication on the major street in an emergency-vehicle traffic control signal (see EPG 902.8.2).

902.5.14 Positions of Signal Indications Within a Signal Face – General (MUTCD Section 4D.08)

Support. Standardization of the number and arrangements of signal sections in vehicular traffic control signal faces enables road users who are color vision deficient to identify the illuminated color by its position relative to other signal sections.

Standard. Unless otherwise provided for a particular application, each signal face at a signalized location shall have three, four, or five signal sections.

A single-section signal face shall be permitted at a traffic control signal if it consists of a continuously-displayed GREEN ARROW signal indication that is being used to indicate a continuous movement and positioned vertically upward to indicate a straight-through movement.

The signal sections in a signal face shall be arranged in a vertical or horizontal straight line.

The arrangement of adjacent signal sections in a signal face shall follow the relative positions listed in EPG 902.5.15 or EPG 902.5.16, as applicable.

If a signal section that displays a CIRCULAR YELLOW signal indication is used, it shall be located between the signal section that displays the red signal indication and all other signal sections.

Support. Fig. 902.5.17 illustrates some of the typical arrangements of signal sections in signal faces that do not control separate turning movements. Figs. 902.5.24 through 902.5.26 illustrate the typical arrangements of signal sections in left-turn signal faces. Fig. 902.5.31 illustrates the typical arrangements of signal sections in right-turn signal faces.

Fig. 902.5.14, Typical Arrangements of Signal Sections in Signal Faces That Do Not Control Turning Movements
Fig. 902.5.14, Typical Arrangements of Signal Sections in Signal Faces That Do Not Control Turning Movements

902.5.15 Positions of Signal Indications Within a Vertical Signal Face (MUTCD Section 4D.09)

Standard. In each vertically-arranged signal face, all signal sections that display red signal indications shall be located above all signal sections that display yellow and green signal indications.

In vertically-arranged signal faces, each signal section that displays a YELLOW ARROW signal indication shall be located above the signal section that displays the GREEN ARROW signal indication to which it applies.

The relative positions of signal sections in a vertically-arranged signal face, from top to bottom, shall be as follows:

CIRCULAR RED
Steady left-turn RED ARROW
CIRCULAR YELLOW
CIRCULAR GREEN
Steady left-turn YELLOW ARROW
Flashing left-turn YELLOW ARROW
Left-turn GREEN ARROW
Steady right-turn YELLOW ARROW
Right-turn GREEN ARROW

Standard. Such clusters shall be limited to two or three different signal sections that display signal indications of the same color.

The signal section that displays a flashing yellow arrow signal indication during steady mode operation:

A. Shall not be placed in the same vertical position as the signal section that displays a steady yellow arrow signal indication, and
B. Shall be placed below the signal section that displays a steady yellow arrow signal indication.

Support. EPG 902.7.2 and EPG 902.8.4 contain exceptions to the provisions of this Section that are applicable to hybrid beacons.

902.5.16 Positions of Signal Indications Within a Horizontal Signal Face (MUTCD Section 4D.10)

Other than in emergency vehicle signals, MoDOT does not typically utilize horizontal signal faces unless engineering judgment deems necessary because of poor visibility or low clearance.

Standard. In each horizontally-arranged signal face, all signal sections that display red signal indications shall be located to the left of all signal sections that display yellow and green signal indications.

In horizontally-arranged signal faces, each signal section that displays a YELLOW ARROW signal indication shall be located to the left of the signal section that displays the GREEN ARROW signal indication to which it applies.

The relative positions of signal sections in a horizontally-arranged signal face, from left to right, shall be as follows:

CIRCULAR RED
Steady left-turn RED ARROW
CIRCULAR YELLOW
Steady left-turn YELLOW ARROW
Flashing left-turn YELLOW ARROW
Left-turn GREEN ARROW
CIRCULAR GREEN
Steady right-turn YELLOW ARROW
Right-turn GREEN ARROW

The signal section that displays a flashing yellow arrow signal indication during steady mode operation:

A. Shall not be placed in the same horizontal position as the signal section that displays a steady yellow arrow signal indication, and
B. Shall be placed to the right of the signal section that displays a steady yellow arrow signal indication.

902.5.17 Number of Signal Faces on an Approach (MUTCD Section 4D.11)

Standard. The signal faces for each approach to an intersection or a midblock location shall be provided as follows:

A. If a signalized through movement exists on an approach, a minimum of two primary signal faces shall be provided for the through movement. If a signalized through movement does not exist on an approach, a minimum of two primary signal faces shall be provided for the signalized turning movement that is considered to be the major movement from the approach (also see EPG 902.5.35).
B. Each signalized approach lane shall have one signal face centered over it.
C. Primary signal indications shall be located on the far side of the intersection.
D. All signal faces shall have backplates . For approaches with operating speeds equal to or greater than 55 miles per hour, backplates shall have a retroreflective border.
E. See EPG 902.5.23 through 902.5.26 for left-turn signal faces.
F. See EPG 902.5.30 through 902.5.33 for right-turn signal faces.

Support. The use of backplates enhances the contrast between the traffic signal indications and their surroundings for both day and night conditions, which is also helpful to older drivers.

Guidance. Retroreflective backplate borders should be installed at signalized intersections where enhanced signal visibility and conspicuity is desired in daytime and/or nighttime conditions. Such signalized intersections include, but are not limited to:

  • signalized intersections with operating speeds greater than 45 mph
  • signalized intersections with busy or confusing backgrounds
  • signalized intersections with automated enforcement
  • isolated signalized intersections
  • signalized intersections that are the first signalized intersection upon entering a city or in an unexpected area.

When retroreflective borders are installed, not all backplates on that approach or at that signalized intersection are required to have a retroreflective border, engineering judgment is required. For example, a retroreflective border for a left turn signal head or for a right turn signal head is not required when the through signal faces have retroreflective borders and retroreflective borders are not required on the sidestreet when the mainline approaches have retroreflective borders.

In addition to the primary signal faces, one or more supplemental pole-mounted or overhead signal faces should be considered to provide added visibility for approaching traffic that is traveling behind large vehicles.

See Fig. 902.5.17 and Table 902.5.17 for signal face information.

Table 902.5.17 Recommended Minimum Number of Primary Signal Faces for Through Traffic on Approaches

Number of Through Lanes on ApproachTotal Number of Primary Through Signal Faces for Approach* Minimum Number of Overhead-Mounted Primary Through Signal Faces for Approach
1 2 1
2 2 2
3 3 3
4 or more 4 or more 4 or more
NOTE: * A minimum of two through signal faces is always required (See EPG 902.5.17). These recommended numbers of through signal faces may be exceeded. Also, see cone of vision requirements otherwise indicated in EPG 902.5.19.
Fig. 902.5.17, Recommended Vehicular Signal Faces for Approaches    Notes:   1. Signal faces for only one direction and only one possible set of geometrics (number of lanes, etc.) are illustrated. If there are fewer or more than two through lanes on the approach, see Table 903.6.28 Requirements for Advance Traffic Control Sign Placements.   2. Any primary left-turn and/or right-turn signal faces, as determined by EPG 902.5.23 through 902.5.33, shall be overhead for each exclusive turn lane.   3. One or more pole-mounted or overhead supplemental faces should be considered, based on the geometrics of the approach, to maximize visibility for approaching traffic.   4. All signal faces shall have backplates.
Fig. 902.5.17, Recommended Vehicular Signal Faces for Approaches
Notes:
1. Signal faces for only one direction and only one possible set of geometrics (number of lanes, etc.) are illustrated. If there are fewer or more than two through lanes on the approach, see Table 903.6.28 Requirements for Advance Traffic Control Sign Placements.
2. Any primary left-turn and/or right-turn signal faces, as determined by EPG 902.5.23 through 902.5.33, shall be overhead for each exclusive turn lane.
3. One or more pole-mounted or overhead supplemental faces should be considered, based on the geometrics of the approach, to maximize visibility for approaching traffic.
4. All signal faces shall have backplates.

Option. Where a movement (or a certain lane or lanes) at the intersection never conflicts with any other signalized vehicular or pedestrian movement, a continuously-displayed single-section GREEN ARROW signal indication may be used to inform road users that the movement is free-flow and does not need to stop.

Support. In some circumstances where the through movement never conflicts with any other signalized vehicular or pedestrian movement at the intersection, such as at T-intersections with appropriate geometrics and/or pavement markings and signing, an engineering study might determine that the through movement (or certain lanes of the through movement) can be free-flow and not signalized.

Guidance. If two or more left-turn lanes are provided for a separately controlled protected only mode left-turn movement, or if a left-turn movement represents the major movement from an approach, two or more primary left-turn signal faces should be provided.

If two or more right-turn lanes are provided for a separately controlled right-turn movement, or if a right-turn movement represents the major movement from an approach, two or more primary right-turn signal faces should be provided.

Support. Locating primary signal faces overhead on the far side of the intersection has been shown to provide safer operation by reducing intersection entries late in the yellow interval and by reducing red signal violations, as compared to post-mounting signal faces at the roadside or locating signal faces overhead within the intersection on a diagonally-oriented mast arm or span wire.

902.5.18 Visibility, Aiming, and Shielding of Signal Faces (MUTCD Section 4D.12)

Standard. The primary consideration in signal face placement, aiming, and adjustment shall be to optimize the visibility of signal indications to approaching traffic.

Road users approaching a signalized intersection or other signalized area, such as a midblock crosswalk, shall be given a clear and unmistakable indication of their right-of-way assignment.

The geometry of each intersection to be signalized, including vertical grades, horizontal curves, and obstructions as well as the lateral and vertical angles of sight toward a signal face, as determined by typical driver-eye position, shall be considered in determining the vertical, longitudinal, and lateral position of the signal face.

Guidance. The two primary signal faces required as a minimum for each approach should be continuously visible to traffic approaching the traffic control signal, from a point at least the minimum sight distance provided in Table 903.6.28 in advance of and measured to the stop line. This range of continuous visibility should be provided unless precluded by a physical obstruction or unless another signalized location is within this range.

There should be legal authority to prohibit the display of any unauthorized sign, signal, marking, or device that interferes with the effectiveness of any official traffic control device (see Section 11-205 of the “Uniform Vehicle Code”).

At signalized midblock crosswalks, at least one of the signal faces should be over the traveled way for each approach.

Standard. If approaching traffic does not have a continuous view of at least two signal faces for at least the minimum sight distance shown in Table 903.6.28, a sign (see EPG 903.6.28) shall be installed to warn approaching traffic of the traffic control signal.

Option. If a sign is installed to warn approaching road users of the traffic control signal, the sign may be supplemented by a Warning Beacon (see EPG 902.12.3).

A Warning Beacon used in this manner may be interconnected with the traffic signal controller assembly in such a manner as to flash yellow during the period when road users passing this beacon at the legal speed for the roadway might encounter a red signal indication (or a queue resulting from the display of the red signal indication) upon arrival at the signalized location.

If the sight distance to the signal faces for an approach is limited by horizontal or vertical alignment, supplemental signal faces aimed at a point on the approach at which the signal indications first become visible may be used.

Guidance. Supplemental signal faces should be used if engineering judgment has shown that they are needed to achieve intersection visibility both in advance and immediately before the signalized location.

If supplemental signal faces are used, they should be located to provide optimum visibility for the movement to be controlled.

Standard. In cases where irregular street design necessitates placing signal faces for different street approaches with a comparatively small angle between their respective signal indications, each signal indication shall, to the extent practical, be visibility-limited by signal visors, optically limited heads, or other means so that an approaching road user’s view of the signal indication(s) controlling movements on other approaches is minimized.

Signal visors shall be used on signal faces to aid in directing the signal indication specifically to approaching traffic, as well as to reduce “sun phantom,” which can result when external light enters the lens.

Option. Special signal faces, such as visibility-limited signal faces, may be used such that the road user does not see signal indications intended for other approaches before seeing the signal indications for their own approach, if simultaneous viewing of both signal indications could cause the road user to be misdirected.

Limiting the visibility of the indication is to be carefully done according to the manufacturer's recommendations. A single section of an optically limited head can be combined with conventional sections to create the needed visibility control. Due to the increased cost of optically limited heads, they should only be used at locations where needed.

Standard. Optically limited heads shall not be installed on a span wire since the control of the indication will be lost because of the movement of the span wire mounted head.

Standard. The inside of signal visors (hoods) and the front surface of backplates shall have a dull black finish to minimize light reflection and to increase contrast between the signal indication and its background.

902.5.19 Lateral Positioning of Signal Faces (MUTCD Section 4D.13)

Standard. At least one and preferably both of the minimum of two primary signal faces required for the through movement (or the major turning movement if there is no through movement) on the approach shall be located between two lines intersecting with the center of the approach at a point 10 ft. behind the stop line, one making an angle of approximately 20 degrees to the right of the center of the approach extended, and the other making an angle of approximately 20 degrees to the left of the center of the approach extended. The signal face that satisfies this requirement shall simultaneously satisfy the longitudinal placement requirement described in EPG 902.5.20 (see Fig. 902.5.20).

If both of the minimum of two primary signal faces required for the through movement (or the major turning movement if there is no through movement) on the approach are post-mounted, they shall both be on the far side of the intersection, one on the right and one on the left of the approach lane(s).

The required signal faces for through traffic on an approach shall be located not less than 8 ft. apart measured horizontally perpendicular to the approach between the centers of the signal faces.

If more than one separate turn signal face is provided for a turning movement and if one or both of the separate turn signal faces are located over the roadway, the signal faces shall be located not less than 8 ft. apart measured horizontally perpendicular to the approach between the centers of the signal faces.

Guidance. If a signal face controls a specific lane or lanes of an approach, its position should make it readily visible to road users making that movement.

Standard. If an exclusive left-turn or right-turn lane is present on an approach, the primary separate turn signal face shall be offset from the centerline of the lane by 2 ft. to prevent the signals from blocking the view of the opposing approach.

Option. The primary separate turn signal face may be positioned such to not be any further to the right than the extension of the right-hand edge of the exclusive turn lane or any further to the left than the extension of the left-hand edge of the exclusive turn lane.

Standard. Supplemental turn signal faces mounted over the roadway shall not be subject to the positioning requirements in the previous paragraph.

Standard. For new or reconstructed signal installations, on an approach with an exclusive turn lane(s) for a left-turn (or U-turn to the left) movement and with opposing vehicular traffic, signal faces that display a CIRCULAR GREEN signal indication shall not be post-mounted on the far-side median or mounted overhead above the exclusive turn lane(s) or the extension of the lane(s).

If supplemental post-mounted signal faces are used, the following limitations shall apply:

A. Left-turn arrows to the left shall not be used in near-right signal faces.
B. Right-turn arrows to the right shall not be used in far-left signal faces. A far-side median-mounted signal face shall be considered a far-left signal for this application.

902.5.20 Longitudinal Positioning of Signal Faces (MUTCD Section 4D.14)

Standard. Except where the width of an intersecting roadway or other conditions make it physically impractical, the signal faces for each approach to an intersection or a midblock location shall be provided as follows:

A. A signal face installed to satisfy the requirements for primary left-turn signal faces (see EPG 902.5.23 through 902.5.26) and primary right-turn signal faces (see EPG 902.5.30 through 902.5.33), and at least one and preferably both of the minimum of two primary signal faces required for the through movement (or the major turning movement if there is no through movement) on the approach shall be located:
1. No less than 40 ft. beyond the stop line,
2. No more than 180 ft. beyond the stop line unless a supplemental near-side signal face is provided, and
3. As near as practical to the line of the driver’s normal view, if mounted over the roadway.
The primary signal face that satisfies this requirement shall simultaneously satisfy the lateral placement requirement described in EPG 902.5.19 (see Fig. 902.5.20).
B. Where the nearest signal face is located between 150 ft. and 180 ft. beyond the stop line, engineering judgment of the conditions, including the worst-case visibility conditions, shall be used to determine if the provision of a supplemental near-side signal face would be beneficial.
Fig. 902.5.20, Lateral and Longitudinal Location of Primary Signal Faces  Note: Refer to EPG 902.5.17 for approaches
Fig. 902.5.20, Lateral and Longitudinal Location of Primary Signal Faces
Note: Refer to EPG 902.5.17 for approaches

Guidance. Supplemental near-side signal faces should be located as near as practical to the stop line.

902.5.21 Mounting Height of Signal Faces (MUTCD Section 4D.15)

Standard. The top of the signal housing of a vehicular signal face located over any portion of a highway that can be used by motor vehicles shall not be more than 25.6 ft. above the pavement.

The bottom of the signal housing and any related attachments to a vehicular signal face located over any portion of a highway that can be used by motor vehicles shall be at least 16 ft. above the pavement.

The bottom of the signal housing (including brackets) of a vehicular signal face that is vertically arranged and not located over a roadway shall be a minimum of 9 ft. and a maximum of 19 ft. above the sidewalk or, if there is no sidewalk, above the pavement grade at the center of the roadway.

Option. Where engineering judgment supports the installation of a supplemental signal indication, a mounting height greater than 19 ft. above the sidewalkmay be used.

902.5.22 Lateral Offset (Clearance) of Signal Faces (MUTCD Section 4D.16)

Standard. Signal faces mounted at the side of a roadway with curbs at less than 15 ft. from the bottom of the housing and any related attachments shall have a horizontal offset of not less than 2 ft. from the face of a vertical curb, or if there is no curb, not less than 2 ft. from the edge of a shoulder.

902.5.23 Signal Indications for Left-Turn Movements – General (MUTCD Section 4D.17)

Support. Left-turning traffic is controlled by one of four modes as follows:

A. Permissive Only Mode—turns made on a CIRCULAR GREEN signal indication or a flashing left-turn YELLOW ARROW signal indication after yielding to pedestrians, if any, and/or opposing traffic, if any.
B. Protected Only Mode—turns made only when a left-turn GREEN ARROW signal indication is displayed.
C. Protected/Permissive Mode—both modes can occur on an approach during the same cycle.
D. Variable Left-Turn Mode—the operating mode changes among the protected only mode and/or the protected/permissive mode and/or the permissive only mode during different periods of the day or as traffic conditions change.

Standard. U-turns to the left shall only be permitted at protected only mode left turns.

Option. In areas having a high percentage of older drivers, special consideration may be given to the use of protected only mode left-turn phasing, when appropriate.

Standard. During a permissive left-turn movement, the signal faces for through traffic on the opposing approach shall simultaneously display green or steady yellow signal indications. If pedestrians crossing the lane or lanes used by the permissive left-turn movement to depart the intersection are controlled by pedestrian signal heads, the signal indications displayed by those pedestrian signal heads shall not be limited to any particular display during the permissive left-turn movement.

During a protected left-turn movement, the signal faces for through traffic on the opposing approach shall simultaneously display steady CIRCULAR RED signal indications. If pedestrians crossing the lane or lanes used by the protected left-turn movement to depart the intersection are controlled by pedestrian signal heads, the pedestrian signal heads shall display a steady UPRAISED HAND (symbolizing DONT WALK) signal indication during the protected left-turn movement.

A protected only mode left-turn movement that does not begin and terminate at the same time as the adjacent through movement shall not be provided on an approach unless an exclusive left-turn lane exists.

A yellow change interval for the left-turn movement shall not be displayed when the status of the left-turn operation is changing from permissive to protected within any given signal sequence.

If the operating mode changes among the protected only mode and/or the protected/permissive mode and/or the permissive only mode during different periods of the day or as traffic conditions change, the requirements in EPG 902.5.24 through 902.5.26 that are appropriate to that mode of operation shall be met, subject to the following:

A. The CIRCULAR GREEN and CIRCULAR YELLOW signal indications shall not be displayed when operating in the protected only mode.
B. The left-turn GREEN ARROW and left-turn YELLOW ARROW signal indications shall not be displayed when operating in the permissive only mode.

Option. Additional static signs or changeable message signs may be used to meet the requirements for the variable left-turn mode or to inform drivers that left-turn green arrows will not be available during certain times of the day.

Support. EPG 902.5.23 through 902.5.26 describe the use of separate signal faces for controlling left-turn movements.

Separate left-turn signal face controls only the left-turn movement and cannot serve as one of the two required primary signal faces for the adjacent movement (usually the through movement) because it displays signal indications that are applicable only to the left-turn movement. If a separate left-turn signal face is mounted overhead at the intersection, it is positioned over the extension of the left-turn lane. In a separate left-turn signal face, a flashing left-turn YELLOW ARROW signal indication is used to control permissive left-turning movements.

EPG 902.5.19 contains provisions regarding the lateral positioning of signal faces that control left-turn movements.

It is not necessary that the same mode of left-turn operation or same type of left-turn signal face be used on every approach to a signalized location. Selecting different modes and types of left-turn signal faces for the various approaches to the same signalized location is acceptable.

Option. A signal face that is shared by left-turning and right-turning traffic may be provided for a shared left-turn/right-turn lane on an approach that has no through traffic (see EPG 902.5.35).

Support. Guidelines are available to aid in determining the proper left turn phasing for signalized intersections.

Left Turn Phasing Warrants

Left turn indications at signalized intersections are designed so they are neither overly restrictive nor inconsistent from the driver's point of view. The Left Turn Phasing Warrants are available in an interactive spreadsheet for safety warrants and capacity warrants to determine the amount of protection to be given to a left turn movement. These warrants are based upon accepted safety and capacity values for signalized intersections.

When factors such as sight distance, speed of opposing vehicles, etc. make permissive turns undesirable, the permissive left turn option is removed. Safety warrants are checked first; if an approach requires protected-only phasing for safety reasons, it is unnecessary to check the capacity warrants.

Once safety considerations are satisfied, Capacity Warrants will need to be analyzed. Capacity Warrants are divided into three parts: Permissive-Only left turns, Protected/Permissive left turns, and Protected-Only left turns. This criteria is used when designing or upgrading a signal installation.

In order to provide the proper phasing at an intersection, it will be necessary to check Capacity Warrants for several hours for each approach. For example, if only the peak hour is checked, the phasing will most likely be too restrictive for the rest of the day. It is recommended that the peak periods plus a sample of off peak hours be checked before choosing the phasing.

When traffic volumes at an intersection are approaching the thresholds listed in the capacity warrants variable left turn phasing can be used by time of day. Variable left turn phasing allows for the selection of either protected only, protected/permissive, or permissive only left turn phasing. This can be used to provide appropriate phasing for varying volumes throughout the day. The protected left turn phase can be omitted by time of day, and flashing yellow arrow operation allows for removal of the permissive left turn in addition to removal of the protected left turn phase. It can be used only on approaches with “positive” signal lane control, in that each approach lane has its own signal indication. Refer to EPG 902.5.29 for more information on flashing yellow arrow indications. Otherwise, the most appropriate left turn phasing is chosen based on the results of the Capacity Warrants.

When the flashing yellow arrow indication is used to provide variable phasing, each hour during a typical day is evaluated to determine proper phasing throughout the day. The Variable Left Turn Worksheet can help evaluate each hour during the day. During initial installation the flashing yellow arrow indication can allow the selection of more restrictive phasing initially and then change to a less restrictive mode if appropriate.

Note that some overlap may occur when analyzing the volumes at each approach (i.e., the data for one hour might satisfy parts of the criteria for both permissive-only and protected/permissive left turns). Therefore, it will be necessary to check at least two of the three parts of the criteria. When an overlap does occur, previous experience and/or evaluation studies at the location is to indicate whether the situation is better served by the more or less restrictive phasing that is determined using the criteria.

The left turn phasing guidelines, below, give safety and capacity considerations for selecting left turn phasing. The interactive spreadsheet allows for the user to directly enter criteria and see suggested thresholds based on these formulas. These guidelines are used when reviewing design plans and when modifying the phasing of an existing installation.

Guidance. Guidelines for Variable Left-Turn Phasing

This is a guide for the selection of variable left turn phasing hour-by-hour. Guidelines based on safety and capacity are provided.

Definition of Terms

The following terms are used in these guidelines :

VLT = The left turn volume per hour per approach.
(VLT)pp = The number of vehicles attempting to make permissive left turns during the permissive part of a protected/permissive left turn per hour per approach.
VO = The opposing volume per hour per approach per lane (excluding free right turn volume and volume serviced by a separate right turn phase).
cp = The cycle length (in seconds) when those volumes occur using permissive-only phasing1.
cpp = The cycle length (in seconds) when those volumes occur using protected/permissive phasing1.
gp = The green time (in seconds) common to both VLT and VO during that cycle using permissive-only phasing1.
gpp = The green time (in seconds) common to both (VLTLT)pp and VO during that cycle using protected/permissive phasing1.
TP = The time allocated to the protected left turn movement using protected/permissive phasing1.
1 These green times are used in the calculations regardless of the existing phasing. For phasing configurations not currently used it will be necessary to develop realistic timing for that phasing configuration. A signal timing computer program can be helpful in developing this timing.

Adjustment of Left Turn Volumes

This evaluation considers the number of vehicles attempting to make permissive left turns during the permissive part of a protected/permissive left turn. Therefore, the effects of protected left turns should be eliminated. This can be handled using the following method:

(VLT)pp = VLT - VP,

where the variable VP is the number of left turn vehicles served by the protected left turn indication. If this formula yields a negative number, use 0 for (VLT)pp. Assuming that vehicles enter the intersection at a rate of 2 seconds/vehicle, the volume using the protected movement in a one-hour period is:

VP = \frac{T_p (sec/cycle) \times 3600 (sec/hr)}{2(sec/vehicle) \times c_{pp}(sec/cycle)}
Safety Criteria
Protected Only Left Turns
Note: Protected-Only left turns should be provided full-time when any one of the following criteria are satisfied:
A. Number of Opposing Through Lanes ≥ 3
B. Sight Distance:
< 125 ft. for 20 mph
< 150 ft. for 25 mph
< 200 ft. for 30 mph
< 250 ft. for 35 mph
< 325 ft. for 40 mph
< 400 ft. for 45 mph
< 475 ft. for 50 mph
< 550 ft. for 55 mph
C. Number of Correctable Accidents By Upgrading to Protected Only Phasing > 5 over 12 months
Note: The 5 correctable accidents should involve the SAME Left Turn approach. Only those approaches satisfying that criteria should be upgraded.
D. Number of Observed Traffic Conflicts > 48 Conflicts / 11 Hour Day
Note: Conflicts occur when motorists on the OPPOSITE APPROACH must respond to the actions of motorists making the subject left-turn movement. Therefore, conflicts should be measured by observing the intersection from the opposite approach. Only those approaches satisfying the criteria should be upgraded.
E. Speed (prevailing)
≥ 50 mph AND ≥ 2 opposing thru lanes
= 45 mph AND a study indicates that the number of gaps is insufficient to turn safely
F. ≥ 2 left turn lanes. However, if there are two left turn lanes and one opposing through lane with low speed and low volume protected/permissive might be considered using engineering judgment.
G. Unusual intersection geometrics that make permissive left turns difficult.
Protected/Permissive Left Turns
Note: Protected/Permissive left turns should be provided when the following criteria is satisfied.
A. Number of Observed Traffic Conflicts > 29 Conflicts / 11 Hour Day
Note: The number of conflicts are those occurring on the OPPOSITE APPROACH that are caused by the subject left-turn movement. Only those approaches satisfying the criteria should be upgraded.
Capacity Criteria
Permissive-Only Left Turns
Note: Permissive-Only left turns are an option when one of the criteria in (A.) is satisfied in conjunction with (B.).
A. VLT < 100 Vehicles per Hour
VLT < 2 Vehicles per Cycle1
VO < 100 Vehicles per Hour
1 This criteria is only valid if observations at the intersection show that drivers tend to make left turns during the clearance interval on a regular basis. These field checks should be made during the hour(s) in which either the highest left turn volume or the highest opposing volume occurs.
B. VLT + VO < 600 x (gp/cp)
Protected/Permissive Left Turns
Note: Protected/Permissive left turns should be provided when one of the criteria in (A.) is satisfied in conjunction with one of the criteria in (B.).
A. VLT > 100 Vehicles per Hour AND VO > 100 Vehicles per Hour
VLT > 2 Vehicles per Cycle1 AND VO > 100 Vehicles per Hour
VLT + VO > 600 x (gp/cp)
1 This criteria is only valid if observations at the intersection show that drivers tend to make left turns during the clearance interval on a regular basis. These field checks should be made during the hour(s) in which either the highest left turn volume or the highest opposing volume occurs.
B. (VLT)pp + VO < 1200 x (gpp/cpp)
(VLT)pp x VO < 50,000

Protected-Only Left Turns

Note: Protected-Only left turns should be provided when any one of the following criteria are satisfied.
A. (VLT)pp + VO > 1200 x (gpp/cpp) for 3 or more hours if considering permanent phasing change
B. (VLT)pp x VO> 50,000 for 3 or more hours if considering permanent phasing change
Protected left turn movements should be provided with an adequate turn bay or a separate turning lane, depending upon the volumes using the intersection and the existing intersection geometry. Protected-Only left turns should not be used with shared lanes unless split phase operation is used.

902.5.24 Signal Indications for Permissive Only Mode Left-Turn Movements (MUTCD Section 4D.18)

Standard. For a separate left-turn signal face being operated in a permissive only left-turns mode, a CIRCULAR GREEN signal indication shall not be used in that face.

If a separate left-turn signal face is being operated in a permissive only left-turn mode and a flashing left-turn YELLOW ARROW signal indication is provided, it shall meet the following requirements (see Fig. 902.5.24):

Fig. 902.5.24, Typical Position and Arrangements of Separate Signal Faces with Flashing Yellow Arrow for Permissive Only Mode Left Turns
Fig. 902.5.24, Typical Position and Arrangements of Separate Signal Faces with Flashing Yellow Arrow for Permissive Only Mode Left Turns
A. It shall be capable of displaying the following signal indications: steady left-turn RED ARROW, steady left-turn YELLOW ARROW, and flashing left-turn YELLOW ARROW. Only one of the three indications shall be displayed at any given time.
B. During the permissive left-turn movement, a flashing left-turn YELLOW ARROW signal indication shall be displayed.
C. A steady left-turn YELLOW ARROW signal indication shall be displayed following the flashing left-turn YELLOW ARROW signal indication.
D. It shall be permitted to display a flashing left-turn YELLOW ARROW signal indication for a permissive left-turn movement while the signal faces for the adjacent through movement display steady CIRCULAR RED signal indications and the opposing left-turn signal faces display left-turn GREEN ARROW signal indications for a protected left-turn movement.
E. During steady mode (stop-and-go) operation, the signal section that displays the steady left-turn YELLOW ARROW signal indication during change intervals shall not be used to display the flashing left-turn YELLOW ARROW signal indication for permissive left turns.
F. During flashing mode operation (see EPG 902.5.41), the display of a flashing left-turn YELLOW ARROW signal indication shall be only from the signal section that displays a steady left-turn YELLOW ARROW signal indication during steady mode (stop-and-go) operation.
G. If the permissive only mode is not the only left-turn mode used for the approach, the signal face shall be the same separate left-turn signal face with a flashing YELLOW ARROW signal indication that is used for the protected/permissive mode (see EPG 902.5.26) except that the left-turn GREEN ARROW signal indication shall not be displayed when operating in the permissive only mode.

Standard. U-turns to the left shall not be allowed during this mode.

902.5.25 Signal Indications for Protected Only Mode Left-Turn Movements (MUTCD Section 4D.19)

Standard. A separate left-turn signal face is provided for a protected only mode left turn. It shall meet the following requirements (see Figure 4D-10):

Fig. 902.5.25, Typical Position and Arrangements of Separate Signal Faces for Protected Only Mode Left Turns
Fig. 902.5.25, Typical Position and Arrangements of Separate Signal Faces for Protected Only Mode Left Turns
A. It shall be capable of displaying, the following signal indications: steady left-turn RED ARROW, steady left-turn YELLOW ARROW, and left-turn GREEN ARROW. Only one of the three indications shall be displayed at any given time. A signal instruction sign shall not be required with this set of signal indications.
B. During the protected left-turn movement, a left-turn GREEN ARROW signal indication shall be displayed.
C. A steady left-turn YELLOW ARROW signal indication shall be displayed following the left-turn GREEN ARROW signal indication.
D. If the protected only mode is not the only left-turn mode used for the approach, the signal face shall be the same separate left-turn signal face that is used for the protected/permissive mode (see EPG 902.5.18 and 902.5.26) except that the flashing left-turn YELLOW ARROW signal indication shall not be displayed when operating in the protected only mode.

Standard. U-turns to the left shall only be allowed during the left GREEN ARROW of protected only mode if lane use sign R10-30c and U-TURN ON GREEN ARROW R10-30b signs are installed.

902.5.26 Signal Indications for Protected/Permissive Mode Left-Turn Movements (MUTCD Section 4D.20)

Standard. For a separate left-turn signal face being operated in a protected/permissive left-turn mode, a CIRCULAR GREEN signal indication shall not be used in that face.

If a separate left-turn signal face is being operated in a protected/permissive left-turn mode and a flashing left-turn YELLOW ARROW signal indication is provided, it shall meet the following requirements (see Fig. 902.5.26):

Fig. 902.5.26, Typical Position and Arrangements of Separate Signal Faces with Flashing Yellow Arrow for Protected/Permissive Mode and Protected Only Mode Left Turns  * Shall not be displayed when operating in the protected only mode
Fig. 902.5.26, Typical Position and Arrangements of Separate Signal Faces with Flashing Yellow Arrow for Protected/Permissive Mode and Protected Only Mode Left Turns
* Shall not be displayed when operating in the protected only mode
A. It shall be capable of displaying the following signal indications: steady left-turn RED ARROW, steady left-turn YELLOW ARROW, flashing left-turn YELLOW ARROW, and left-turn GREEN ARROW. Only one of the four indications shall be displayed at any given time.
B. During the protected left-turn movement, a left-turn GREEN ARROW signal indication shall be displayed.
C. A steady left-turn YELLOW ARROW signal indication shall be displayed following the left-turn GREEN ARROW signal indication.
D. During the permissive left-turn movement, a flashing left-turn YELLOW ARROW signal indication shall be displayed.
E. A steady left-turn YELLOW ARROW signal indication shall be displayed following the flashing left-turn YELLOW ARROW signal indication if the permissive left-turn movement is being terminated and the separate left-turn signal face will subsequently display a steady left-turn RED ARROW indication.
F. It shall be permitted to display a flashing left-turn YELLOW ARROW signal indication for a permissive left-turn movement while the signal faces for the adjacent through movement display steady CIRCULAR RED signal indications and the opposing left-turn signal faces display left-turn GREEN ARROW signal indications for a protected left-turn movement.
G. When a permissive left-turn movement is changing to a protected left-turn movement, a left-turn GREEN ARROW signal indication shall be displayed immediately upon the termination of the flashing left-turn YELLOW ARROW signal indication. A steady left-turn YELLOW ARROW signal indication shall not be displayed between the display of the flashing left-turn YELLOW ARROW signal indication and the display of the steady left-turn GREEN ARROW signal indication.
H. During steady mode (stop-and-go) operation, the signal section that displays the steady left-turn YELLOW ARROW signal indication during change intervals shall not be used to display the flashing left-turn YELLOW ARROW signal indication for permissive left turns.
I. During flashing mode operation (see EPG 902.5.41), the display of a flashing left-turn YELLOW ARROW signal indication shall be only from the signal section that displays a steady left-turn YELLOW ARROW signal indication during steady mode (stop-and-go) operation.
J. A signal instruction sign shall be required with this set of signal indications. The sign shall be a “LEFT TURN YIELD ON FLASHING ARROW” (R10-27a).

Standard. U-turns to the left shall not be allowed during this mode.

902.5.27 Miscellaneous Applications for Left Turns

902.5.27.1 Leading and Lagging Left-Turns

Support. A leading left turn is a left turn that precedes or is accompanied by the first through movement in a direction. A lagging left turn is a left turn that follows the last through movement or is on at the end of the green time for a through movement.

At locations where a left turn lane is needed but cannot be provided, some relief is achieved by the use of a leading or lagging green period for the direction of traffic with the heavy left turn.

Leading and lagging left turn phasing is typically used to improve coordination on mainline routes where modifying the left turn phasing will provide a significant improvement in coordination. Lead-lag protected-permissive phasing is not normally used on uncoordinated approaches. Lead-lag phasing can be helpful where a short left turn bay exceeds its capacity. The lagging left can prevent the turn bay overflow from blocking through traffic.

902.5.27.2 Split Phasing

Support. Split phasing is servicing a street one approach at a time. Because split phasing is a very inefficient use of green time, other alternatives, including geometric improvements are often preferred. Split phasing greatly impedes coordination if used on a main line, and decreases the efficiency of the whole intersection by increasing the amount of time needed to serve both approaches separately. This phasing is used when the intersection geometry (i.e. offset intersection) doesn’t allow the operation of concurrent phases. For intersections with existing split phasing, use care when modifying phasing to include permissive left turns.

902.5.27.3 Alternate Sequences

Support. When needed, the normal NEMA ring sequence can be altered to fit operating conditions, with restrictions as detailed in EPG 902.5.3. The most common application is to provide lead-lag left turns. Assume this phasing assignment for the following intersection:

Alternate Sequence
Alternate Sequence

In order to allow the northbound phase 1 to become a lagging left turn, the sequence of phase 1 and phase 2 must be programmed to switch. Under this alternate sequence, the ring structure would be:

Alternate Sequence Ring
Alternate Sequence Ring

This ring sequence starts with southbound left and through, and ends on the left side of the barrier with northbound left and through. Sequencing on the right side of the barrier is unchanged. More than one alternate sequence can be programmed.

902.5.28 Left Turn Lanes

Guidance. It is nearly always desirable to have left turn lanes at any intersection, whether or not signals are present, if there is a need for that turning movement. The warrants outlined in NCHRP 457 – “Engineering Study Guide for Evaluating Intersection Improvements”, will be used as a basis for determining the need for left turn lanes.

Dual Left Turns

Guidance. It is generally agreed that two left turn lanes is to be considered when the left-turn volume exceeds 300 VPH. Where dual left turn lanes are provided, the second left turn lane has been found to operate at 80% or less of the efficiency of the first left turn lane. A capacity analysis of the intersection is to be made when considering dual left turns. If all the movements operate at a satisfactory level of service, than the dual left turn may not be needed. The installation of dual lefts typically requires expensive geometric and signal modifications.

Geometric considerations must also be carefully reviewed at a potential dual left turn. Ideally, dual lefts are to be two exclusive turn lanes. Using a shared lane for the second left turn lane is to be carefully analyzed before using. A shared through and left lane reduces the capacity for the through movement and usually requires split phasing. Turning radii from each of the left turn lanes is to be designed to accommodate side-by-side turning of the largest vehicles typically using that approach. See Markings for Dual Left Turn Lanes for dual left turn striping. Advance signing for the dual left is recommended.

Where the flow of the dual left turn lanes will carry traffic downstream must be taken into account. There is to be at least two through lanes of traffic of sufficient length to handle the completion of the dual turning lanes. Any lane reduction after a dual left turn is to take place far enough away from the intersection so as to provide adequate merging distances. Turning one lane of the dual left into another downstream turning lane is to be clearly signed in advance of the dual left turn.

902.5.29 Guidelines for Use of the Flashing Yellow Left Arrow

Video
Flashing Yellow Arrow animation
Worksheet and Brochure
Left Turn Safety Warrants
Flashing Yellow Arrow brochure
Studies
NCHRP Study 493
NCHRP Study 123

Support. This subarticle is a starting point for installations and other steps needed to successfully implement the flashing yellow arrow (FYA) for left turns at signalized intersections. The flashing yellow arrow has replaced the circular green ball for the permissive movement for left turns.

Standard. The turning movement for FYA operation must have a separate signal head. Shared indications are not allowed.

Support. Verify the installation of a stacked 4-section head is possible at a location with an existing 5- or 3-section head. If the turn head has a circular green being shared as the 2nd through indication, then a dedicated signal head will be needed for the 2nd through. Check field wiring to insure there are enough dedicated conductors to drive the new signal heads. More conductors will be needed for a FYA head than a 5-section head, since each indication must be driven from the cabinet and not jumpered off the adjacent through.

Standard. A LEFT TURN YIELD ON FLASHING ARROW (R10-27a) sign shall be mounted adjacent to the head.

When a new signal is being built or where an existing signal is being reconstructed, the FYA shall be used for the permissive left turn movement. All new cabinets shall be configured for FYA operation on all left turns.

Guidance. This will likely require a 16-position backpanel at locations with any current or anticipated signalized pedestrian control and/or dedicated overlaps, where pedestrian channels are put in the last 4 channels. However, the FYA components, if not immediately used, should be deactivated for future use.

Support. Verify the sign can be installed. Any existing left turn sign will need to be removed.

902.5.29.1 Installation Strategy and Guidelines

Guidance. Carefully considering where to first install the FYA can help with public acceptance. The Left Turn Phasing Warrants (safety and capacity) worksheet should be help determine what type of left turn signal phasing should be used.

Support. Run “Left Turn Phasing warrants” worksheet for safety and capacity warrants. Volume. Collect volume data for each approach where the FYA will be installed. This includes at a minimum, the proposed left turn movement and opposing through volumes during times where phasing may possibly change.

For each FYA approach, enter the relevant data into the “Left Turn Phasing” worksheet to determine 24 hour-by-hour what phasing option can be used. Follow recommended phasing choice for each hour.

If on an approach the number of “protected-only” hours in a day are numerous, then consideration to full-time “protected-only” phasing should be given.

902.5.29.1.1 Removing Protected-Only Turn Phasing: When Not To

Standard. Protected-only left turn phasing shall not be removed if opposing sight distance is inadequate for permissive left turns, operating speed is too great, or there are too many opposing through lanes. The Left Turn Safety Warrants still apply.

Guidance. If the approach passes Left Turn Safety Warrants, exercise engineering judgment before going from protected-only to FYA protected-permissive. Consider whether the protected-only left turn was installed for other safety reasons (crash prevention when under less restrictive phasing), before operating a possible FYA installation protected-permissive.

902.5.29.1.2 Installation – Best Candidates

Guidance. When considering locations for initial installation look for:

a) Isolated signals OR
b) Adjacent signals within a coordinated signal corridor within common political boundaries (minimum two signals) AND
c) One of the following conditions for each of the signals:
  • Mainline left turn approach(es) that currently operate protected/permissive.
  • Mainline permissive-only left turn approach(es) having the capability to run part-time protected/permissive or protected-only.

Upgrading sidestreet approaches as well at these chosen signals is preferred.

Additional installations could also include:

  • Adjacent signals to first installation and possibly across another political boundary
  • Another corridor in another political entity well away from other upgraded locations
  • Nearby coordinated corridor with heavy protected-permissive left turn phasing

902.5.29.2 Public Education

Support. This subarticle can be used to prepare for the first FYA installation in a region or area. Once the decision has been made as to where the FYA and when the FYA will be on, be prepared to demonstrate the following points to the public:

  • This type of installation is not new – many other locations nationwide have used it for years, and the FHWA has mandated this type of installation in certain situations as the standard type of traffic control.
  • Variable phasing choice by time of day: allows for protected only when needed, and can reduce “red light running” in coordinated systems.
  • Less congestion due to increased green time for left turns and improved coordination, and can result in fewer crashes along the affected corridor.
  • National studies have shown a decrease in crashes with FYA operation where it replaces protected/permissive operation.
  • Installations statewide on the MoDOT system have been successful and have been well-received by drivers.

In order to distribute this information to the public, there are several outlets that can be utilized:

  • Present the FYA idea at a community meeting.
  • Notify the local press via media release on the idea.
  • Distribute this brochure by placing them with other MoDOT brochures.
  • Open up a web page specific to your location.

902.5.29.3 Equipment for Reconstructed Signals

Support.

Cabinet. Examine the existing cabinet to determine how many load switch bays are unused and how many pedestrian load switches are in operation. Each FYA approach will require either one open load switch OR one in-use pedestrian load switch (to utilize the unused yellow channel) in addition to the current load switch for a protected permissive turn.
Cabinet Modification. Contact the cabinet vendor to provide red-lined cabinet prints that will show the needed changes. Once installation is completed, acquire 4 clean prints that reflect the final modifications.
Controller. Controller must be capable of FYA operation. Some controllers are too old to be upgraded to FYA operation. If utilizing an existing controller, check with controller’s vendor for capability.
Conflict Monitor. FYA operation requires a special conflict monitor. Check with signal equipment vendors for applicable models. Consider purchasing backup conflict monitors so if the installed model fails, an applicable conflict monitor is immediately available.

902.5.29.4 Equipment for New Construction

Support.

Cabinet. Develop plans with the ultimate number of FYA approaches accounted for. Install the cabinet with an appropriate number of load switches configured for full implementation of both left turn and right turn FYA. This may require a 16-position backpanel for locations withpedestrians and overlap movements.
Controller and Conflict Monitor. Regardless if Sec 1092 requires FYA logic, including a footnote on the D-37C sheet to reinforce FYA logic is necessary for new controllers and conflict monitors.
Signal Heads. Make sure FYA indications are noted on the intersection plan sheet and quantity included on D-37A sheet for those approaches where FYA will be installed on the project.

Support.

Other Plan Items. On D37-D sheet, include notation on which indications are to be wired to FYA outputs. On D38-A sheet, make sure the FYA indications are included in the Phasing Sequence chart.

902.5.29.5 Signal Hardware Purchases (Internal Retrofit)

Support. If the decision has been made to upgrade an existing signal by MoDOT forces, then plenty of lead time must be given to have all of the needed equipment on hand and ready to install. The district might elect to utilize a private contractor to do all or some of the retrofit. Purchasing of the equipment and/or contractor services will be done through General Services with detailed information given on the following items:

St. Louis District contract submittal example
  • Quantity of items
  • Cabinet print numbers
  • Specify Commission furnished vs. contractor furnished items clearly (if any)
  • Completion date
  • Specific days and times of installation allowed due to local traffic conditions
  • Disposition of removed equipment
  • Signing

For a district’s first installation, it is advisable to acquire the upgraded controller and monitor a few weeks in advance of the installation date so in-depth bench testing can be done by all interested parties.

902.5.29.6 Regional Cooperation

Support. Installation of the FYA at another agency’s signals might not be possible. One of the critical requirements of this option is that each lane on the approach have its own signal head. The left turn signal head cannot be sharing its circular indications with the adjacent through lanes. If an agency does not use this type of control, they cannot use the FYA. If the adjacent agency’s signals are using positive lane control, then cooperation in the form of simultaneous FYA installations can be explored.

902.5.29.7 Installation Plan

Guidance. Once a date of installation has been determined, and all needed hardware is under contract or on site, detailed steps should be taken to make the installation run as smooth as possible.

Support. If internal traffic control is used, the needed components need to be arranged well in advance of the turn-on date to make sure no components are left out.

With a turn-on date in-hand, media releases with more detail on when the public can expect to see the new indications can be prepared and sent out (approximately 2 weeks in advance).

Especially for the first installation in an area, placing CMSs in advance of the affected signals at least 5 days before the turn-on date can be scheduled. Possible messages can be:

Flashing Yellow LT Arrow
Yield To Oncoming Traffic

902.5.29.8 Post-Implementation Plan

Guidance. If used, CMSs should be removed after a minimum of 7 days of FYA operation.

Signal observations should be performed periodically as discretely as possible, and particularly during the times where the phasing has changed from the previous installation. Be particularly sure to watch driver behavior through the FYA and validation of going to protected-permissive from protected-only, if applicable. Any adjustments to the time of day phasing operation will need to be documented.

Update the location with information on FYA usage in TMS.

902.5.30 Signal Indications for Right-Turn Movements – General (MUTCD Section 4D.21)

Support. Right-turning traffic is controlled by one of four modes as follows:

A. Permissive Only Mode—turns made on a CIRCULAR GREEN signal indication, after yielding to pedestrians, if any.
B. Protected Only Mode—turns made only when a right-turn GREEN ARROW signal indication is displayed.
C. Protected/Permissive Mode—both modes occur on an approach during the same cycle.
D. Variable Right-Turn Mode—the operating mode changes among the protected only mode and/or the protected/permissive mode and/or the permissive only mode during different periods of the day or as traffic conditions change.

Right turns on a CIRCULAR RED signal indication are permitted, after stopping (see Item C.1 in EPG 902.5.10).

Standard. If pedestrians crossing the lane or lanes used by the permissive right-turn movement to depart the intersection are controlled by pedestrian signal heads, the signal indications displayed by those pedestrian signal heads shall not be limited to any particular display during the permissive right-turn movement.

During a protected right-turn movement, the signal faces for left-turn traffic, if any, on the opposing approach shall not simultaneously display a steady left-turn GREEN ARROW or steady left-turn YELLOW ARROW signal indication,. If pedestrians crossing the lane or lanes used by the protected right-turn movement to depart the intersection are controlled by pedestrian signal heads, the pedestrian signal heads shall display a steady UPRAISED HAND (symbolizing DONT WALK) signal indication during the protected right-turn movement.

During the phase where a steady CIRCULAR RED signal indication is displayed for a right-turn movement and conflicting u-turns are allowed during the steady left-turn GREEN ARROW signal indication, in protected only mode, a RIGHT ON RED MUST YIELD TO U-TURN (R10-30) sign shall be installed for the right-turn. (If the conflicting right turn is controlled by a yield sign, a RIGHT TURN MUST YIELD TO U-TURN (R10-30a) sign shall be installed).

When U-turns from a protected only mode for left turns are allowed, a right turn GREEN ARROW signal indication for a conflicting right turn movement shall not be simultaneously displayed.

A protected only mode right-turn movement that does not begin and terminate at the same time as the adjacent through movement shall not be provided on an approach unless an exclusive right-turn lane exists.

A yellow change interval for the right-turn movement shall not be displayed when the status of the right-turn operation is changing from permissive to protected within any given signal sequence.

If the operating mode changes among the protected only mode and/or the protected/permissive mode and/or the permissive only mode during different periods of the day or as traffic conditions change, the requirements in EPG 902.5.31 through EPG 902.5.33 that are appropriate to that mode of operation shall be met, subject to the following:

A. The CIRCULAR GREEN and CIRCULAR YELLOW signal indications shall not be displayed when operating in the protected only mode.
B. The right-turn GREEN ARROW and right-turn YELLOW ARROW signal indications shall not be displayed when operating in the permissive only mode.

Option. Additional static signs or changeable message signs may be used to meet the requirements for the variable right-turn mode or to inform drivers that right-turn green arrows will not be available during certain times of the day.

Support. EPG 902.5.30 through EPG 902.5.33 describe the use of separate signal faces for controlling right-turn movements.

Separate right-turn signal face controls only the right-turn movement and cannot serve as one of the two required primary signal faces for the adjacent movement (usually the through movement) because it displays signal indications that are applicable only to the right-turn movement. If a separate right-turn signal face is mounted overhead at the intersection, it is positioned over the extension of the right-turn lane.

EPG 902.5.19 contains provisions regarding the lateral positioning of signal faces that control right-turn movements.

It is not necessary that the same mode of right-turn operation or same type of right-turn signal face be used on every approach to a signalized location. Selecting different modes and types of right-turn signal faces for the various approaches to the same signalized location is acceptable.

Option. A signal face that is shared by left-turning and right-turning traffic may be provided for a shared left-turn/right-turn lane on an approach that has no through traffic (see EPG 902.5.35).

902.5.31 Signal Indications for Permissive Only Mode Right-Turn Movements (MUTCD Section 4D.22)

Standard. If a separate right-turn signal face is being operated in a permissive only right-turn mode and a steady CIRCULAR GREEN signal indication is provided, it shall meet the following requirements (see Fig. 902.5.31):

Fig. 902.5.34 Typical Positions and Arrangements for Right Turns with Right Turn lanes  Note: If right turns on red are not permitted, a NO TURN ON RED (R10-11a) signal shall be used
Fig. 902.5.34 Typical Positions and Arrangements for Right Turns with Right Turn lanes
Note: If right turns on red are not permitted, a NO TURN ON RED (R10-11a) signal shall be used
A. It shall be capable of displaying a steady CIRCULAR RED, steady CIRCULAR YELLOW, and a steady CIRCULAR GREEN. Only one of the three indications shall be displayed at any giventime.
If the CIRCULAR RED signal indication is sometimes displayed when the signal faces for the adjacent through lane(s) are not displaying a CIRCULAR RED signal indication, a RIGHT TURN SIGNAL (R10-10R) sign (see EPG 903.5.30) shall be used unless the CIRCULAR RED signal indication in the separate right-turn signal face is shielded, hooded, positioned, or designed such that it is not readily visible to drivers in the through lane(s).
B. During the permissive right-turn movement, a steady CIRCULAR GREEN signal indication shall be displayed.
C. A steady CIRCULAR YELLOW signal indication shall be displayed following the steady CIRCULAR GREEN signal indication.
D. When the separate right-turn signal face is providing a message to stop and remain stopped, a steady CIRCULAR RED signal indication shall be displayed with a NO TURN ON RED (R10-11a) sign, if it is intended that right turns on red not be permitted.
E. If the permissive only mode is not the only right-turn mode used for the approach, the signal face shall be the same separate right-turn signal face with a steady CIRCULAR GREEN signal indication that is used for the protected/permissive mode (see EPG 902.5.33) except that the right-turn GREEN ARROW signal indication shall not be displayed when operating in the permissive only mode.

902.5.32 Signal Indications for Protected Only Mode Right-Turn Movements (MUTCD Section 4D.23)

Standard. If a separate right-turn signal face is provided for a protected only mode right turn, it shall meet the following requirements (see Fig. 902.5.31):

A. It shall be capable of displaying a steady CIRCULAR RED, steady right-turn YELLOW ARROW, and right-turn GREEN ARROW. Only one of three indications shall be displayed at any given time. If the CIRCULAR RED signal indication is sometimes displayed when the signal faces for the adjacent through lane(s) are not displaying a CIRCULAR RED signal indication, a RIGHT TURN SIGNAL (R10-10R) sign (see EPG 903.5.30) shall be used unless the CIRCULAR RED signal indication is shielded, hooded, positioned, or designed such that it is not readily visible to drivers in the through lane(s).
B. During the protected right-turn movement, a right-turn GREEN ARROW signal indication shall be displayed.
C. A steady right-turn YELLOW ARROW signal indication shall be displayed following the right-turn GREEN ARROW signal indication.
D. When the separate right-turn signal face is providing a message to stop and remain stopped, a steady CIRCULAR RED signal indication shall be displayed with a NO TURN ON RED (R10-11a) sign, if it is intended that right turns on red not be permitted.
E. If the protected only mode is not the only right-turn mode used for the approach, the signal face shall be the same separate right-turn signal face that is used for the protected/permissive mode (see EPG 902.5.33) except that a steady CIRCULAR GREEN signal indication shall not be displayed when operating in the protected only mode.

902.5.33 Signal Indications for Protected/Permissive Mode Right-Turn Movements (MUTCD Section 4D.24)

Standard. If a separate right-turn signal face is being operated in a protected/permissive right-turn mode and a steady CIRCULAR GREEN signal indication is provided, it shall meet the following requirements (see Figure 902.5.31).

A. It shall be capable of displaying a steady CIRCULAR RED, steady CIRCULAR YELLOW, steady CIRCULAR GREEN, steady right-turn YELLOW ARROW, and steady right-turn GREEN ARROW. Only one of the three circular indications shall be displayed at any given time. Only one of the two arrow indications shall be displayed at any given time. If the CIRCULAR RED signal indication is sometimes displayed when the signal faces for the adjacent through lane(s) are not displaying a CIRCULAR RED signal indication, a RIGHT TURN SIGNAL (R10-10R) sign (see EPG 903.5.30) shall be used unless the CIRCULAR RED signal indication in the separate right-turn signal face is shielded, hooded, positioned, or designed such that it is not readily visible to drivers in the through lane(s).
B. During the protected right-turn movement, a right-turn GREEN ARROW signal indication shall be displayed.
C. A steady right-turn YELLOW ARROW signal indication shall be displayed following the right-turn GREEN ARROW signal indication.
D. During the permissive right-turn movement, a steady CIRCULAR GREEN signal indication shall be displayed.
E. A steady CIRCULAR YELLOW signal indication shall be displayed following the steady CIRCULAR GREEN signal indication if the permissive right-turn movement is being terminated and the separate right-turn signal face will subsequently display a steady red indication.
F. When a permissive right-turn movement is changing to a protected right-turn movement, a right-turn GREEN ARROW signal indication shall be displayed immediately upon the termination of the steady CIRCULAR GREEN signal indication. A steady CIRCULAR YELLOW signal indication shall not be displayed between the display of the steady CIRCULAR GREEN signal indication and the display of the steady right-turn GREEN ARROW signal indication.
G. When the separate right-turn signal face is providing a message to stop and remain stopped, a steady CIRCULAR RED signal indication shall be displayed with a NO TURN ON RED (R10-11a) sign, if it is intended that right turns on red not be permitted.

902.5.34 Overlaps and Right Turn Phasing

Support. An "overlap" provides a green or flashing yellow arrow indication for a traffic movement during the green intervals of two or more phases. The overlap green indication can be displayed during the change period between two or more phases if these phases are consecutive. An overlap can be integrated into an actuated controller to supplement the flow of traffic. A simple application of an overlap is shown below:

Simple Overlap Application
Simple Overlap Application

For this case, a through movement is labeled "OLA" (OverLap A). OLA indication can be green while either phase 1 or phase 2 is green. While phase 1 is timing out the change period in transition to phase 2, the OLA indication remains green since OLA follows concurrently. OLA indication is red when phase 3 is green or yellow.

Overlaps need not be used when normal NEMA dual ring structure can be utilized. In the previous example, the overlap is to be assigned to phase 6. A more practical application is for signalizing a right turn movement as shown below:

Practical Application for Signalizing a Right Turn
Practical Application for Signalizing a Right Turn

In this case, the right turn phase is labeled "OLA" (Overlap A). OLA will display a green right while either phase 1 or phase 7 is green and will display a ball green when phase 2 and phase 6 are green. It receives no additional time, since its time comes from phases 1 and 7.

902.5.35 Signal Indications for Approaches With Shared Left-Turn/Right-Turn Lanes and No Through Movement (MUTCD Section 4D.25)

Support. A lane that is shared by left-turn and right-turn movements is sometimes provided on an approach that has no through movement, such as the stem of a T-intersection or where the opposite approach is a one-way roadway in the opposing direction.

Standard. When a shared left-turn/right-turn lane exists on a signalized approach, the left-turn and right-turn movements shall start and terminate simultaneously and the red signal indication used in each of the signal faces on the approach shall be a CIRCULAR RED.

Support. This requirement for the use of CIRCULAR RED signal indications in signal faces for approaches having a shared lane for left-turn and right-turn movements is a specific exception to other provisions in this article that would otherwise require the use of RED ARROW signal indications.

Standard. The signal faces provided for an approach with a shared left-turn/right-turn lane and no through movement shall be one of the following:

A. Two or more signal faces, each capable of displaying CIRCULAR RED, CIRCULAR YELLOW, and CIRCULAR GREEN signal indications, shall be provided for the approach. This display shall be permissible regardless of number of exclusive left-turn and/or right-turn lanes that exist on the approach in addition to the shared left-turn/right-turn lane and regardless of whether or not there are pedestrian or opposing vehicular movements that conflict with the left-turn or right-turn movements. However, if there is an opposing approach and the signal phasing protects the left-turn movement on the approach with the shared left-turn/right-turn lane from conflicts with the opposing vehicular movements and any signalized pedestrian movements, a left-turn GREEN ARROW signal indication shall also be included in the left-most signal face and shall be displayed simultaneously with the CIRCULAR GREEN signal indication.
B. If the approach has one or more exclusive turn lanes in addition to the shared left-turn/right-turn lane and there is no conflict with a signalized vehicular or pedestrian movement, and GREEN ARROW signal indications are used in place of CIRCULAR GREEN signal indications on the approach, the signal faces for the approach shall be:
1. A signal face(s) capable of displaying CIRCULAR RED, YELLOW ARROW, and GREEN ARROW signal indications for the exclusive turn lane(s), with the arrows pointing in the direction of the turn, and
2. A shared left-turn/right-turn signal face capable of displaying CIRCULAR RED, left-turn YELLOW ARROW, left-turn GREEN ARROW, right-turn YELLOW ARROW, and right-turn GREEN ARROW signal indications, in an arrangement of signal sections that complies with the provisions of EPG 902.5.15 and EPG 902.5.16.

Support. Figs. 902.5.35.1, 902.5.35.2 and 902.5.35.3 illustrate application of these Standards on approaches that have only a shared left-turn/right-turn lane, and on approaches that have one or more exclusive turn lanes in addition to the shared left-turn/right-turn lane.

Fig. 902.5.35.1, Signal Indications for Approaches with a Shared Left-Turn/Right-Turn Lane and No Through Movement (1 of 3)
Fig. 902.5.35.1, Signal Indications for Approaches with a Shared Left-Turn/Right-Turn Lane and No Through Movement (1 of 3)
Fig. 902.5.35.2, Signal Indications for Approaches with a Shared Left-Turn/Right-Turn Lane and No Through Movement (2 of 3)
Fig. 902.5.35.2, Signal Indications for Approaches with a Shared Left-Turn/Right-Turn Lane and No Through Movement (2 of 3)
Fig. 902.5.35.3, Signal Indications for Approaches with a Shared Left-Turn/Right-Turn Lane and No Through Movement (3 of 3)
Fig. 902.5.35.3, Signal Indications for Approaches with a Shared Left-Turn/Right-Turn Lane and No Through Movement (3 of 3)

902.5.36 Signal Timing

Support. Once the proper phasing has been determined for an intersection, the proper timings for the signal indications must be developed in order to function efficiently.

902.5.36.1 Green Interval

902.5.36.1.1 Minimum Green

Guidance. The minimum green is the shortest green time of a phase. Green times that are too short can lead to frequent and needless stops.

The following minimum green times are generally recommended:

Mainline Through Movement: 10 seconds
Side street Through Movement: 7 seconds
Protected Left Turn: 7 seconds

Option. In some cases, the minimums may can be set higher. For heavily traveled mainline throughs lacking back detection, a higher minimum may be desired to reduce the chances of the controller quickly cycling off the mainline green to other phases.

Standard. Minimum green shall not be set below five seconds for green indications.

902.5.36.1.2 Maximum Green

Guidance. Maximum green times are set on an actuated controller as low as possible, but high enough to adequately handle most of the vehicle demands. Maximum greens set too low result in less flexibility in the phase's timings based on detector activity, since there is very little time between the minimum and maximum for the fluctuation in traffic. Maximum greens set too high can result in unnecessary delays during periods of detector failures, and increase the delay for other approaches.

The following maximum green times are recommended:

Mainline Through Movement: 40 to 70 seconds
Left Turn Movements: 15 to 50 seconds
Side street Through Movements: 20 to 50 seconds

Observation is the final factor in deciding the proper setting for maximum green. In low volume and/or low speed situations, lower maximums might be advantageous. Some approaches might need more than the usual times, at different times of the day.

Support. Controllers allow for different maximum settings to be enacted through the time clock. This is useful if heavy demand on a certain phase can be accurately predicted and set to a time of day. This is also useful with semi-actuated control where the mainline timing is controlled by a maximum recall since mainline demand typically changes by time of day.

Guidance. Although the concept of a cycle length is usually reserved for pre-timed control and coordinated actuated control, it can be applied to isolated, actuated control. The temptation to set all maximums at an isolated intersection extremely high should be avoided. Maximum settings too high result in longer delay for other approaches, and defeat the flexibility of actuated control by creating needless backups. See EPG 902.5.5 Coordination for more discussion on cycle lengths for all types of control.

902.5.36.2 Yellow Change and Red Clearance Intervals (MUTCD Section 4D.26)

Standard. A steady yellow signal indication shall be displayed following every CIRCULAR GREEN or GREEN ARROW signal indication and following every flashing YELLOW ARROW signal indication displayed as a part of a steady mode operation. This requirement shall not apply when a CIRCULAR GREEN or a flashing YELLOW ARROW signal indication is followed immediately by a GREEN ARROW signal indication.

The exclusive function of the yellow change interval shall be to warn traffic of an impending change in the right of way assignment.

Support. The yellow change interval and the red clearance interval (all indications displaying red) are required to prepare the intersection for the transfer of right of way. These intervals permit vehicles that are either within the intersection or so close to it that they cannot comfortably stop to clear the intersection, and to permit those vehicles that can come to a comfortable stop to do so.

Change Interval Timing Worksheet

Standard. The total time for the yellow change interval and the red clearance interval is the change period. All change periods shall be updated using the criteria below. Compliance date is December 2011.

Support. To determine the appropriate yellow change interval and red clearance interval, ITE has developed a Kinematic Model – Formula shown below. The duration of change and clearance intervals, as well as the appropriateness of red clearance intervals, is a topic with no clear consensus. The following formula is developed based on a kinematic model of stopping behavior to determine the duration of the yellow and red indications, and is in common use throughout the country.

Change Period:

CP = t + \frac{V}{2a + 64.5g} + \frac{W + L}{V}

Guidance:

CP = nondilemma change period (yellow plus all red), seconds
t = perception-reaction time, recommended as 1.0 second
V = approach speed (recommended as 85th or 15th percentile speed), ft/sec
g = percent grade (positive for upgrade, negative for downgrade), expressed as a decimal
a = deceleration rate, recommended as 10 ft/sec2
W = width of intersection from stop line to end of far side crosswalk (if present), ft.
L = length of vehicle, recommended as 20 ft.

Support. A spot-speed study on an approach to an intersection will produce a range (or distribution) of speeds. The 85th percentile speed is used to determine the yellow change and red clearance interval. A spot-speed study is performed during free flow conditions (typically during off-peak periods) to obtain the highest 85th percentile speed to be used in the equation. It is important, however, to also consider slower traffic going through the intersection at the 15th percentile speed. Low speeds and wide intersections or large left turn radii are a combination that can require a longer change period (yellow plus all-red). For this reason, it might be necessary to calculate the equation using both the 85th and 15th percentile speeds. Engineering judgment is used to determine whether the 85th or 15th percentile speed be used.

Using this equation for approaches with steep downgrades yields such long intervals that they appear unreasonable to drivers as well as the engineer. The remedy is not to ignore the physics of the situation when an unusually long phase change period results from a steep grade or from high approach speeds. The remedy might come from other devices such as warning signs, advanced detection or other countermeasures.

Districts can use the Change Interval Timing Worksheet to calculate the yellow change and red clearance intervals. Keep a printout of the spreadsheet with signal correspondence for future reference.

The sum of the first two terms in the formula is the yellow change interval and the red clearance interval is the last term. The purpose of the yellow change interval is to warn approaching traffic of the imminent change in the assignment of right of way. The first two terms include a reaction time, a deceleration element and approach speed,which are all necessary to determine a yellow change interval that will either allow the driver to come to a stop or proceed through the intersection. The red clearance interval is used to provide additional time following the yellow change interval before conflicting traffic is released. The last term in the formula includes the intersection width, length of vehicle and approach speed, which are all necessary in determining the intersection clearing time.

Standard. The yellow change interval shall not be less than three seconds.

Guidance. The yellow change interval should not exceed six seconds. The red clearance interval should not exceed six seconds.

Option. Based on engineering judgment, adjustments to the yellow change interval and red clearance interval may be made provided for each interval:

1) Yellow and all-red are not less than the calculated values using t = 1 second and a = 10 ft/sec2 AND
2) Yellow does not go below the appropriate minimum of 3 seconds AND
3) Yellow and all-red do not go above the appropriate maximum of 6 seconds OR
4) Special conditions exist (e.g. Single Point Urban Interchange, Continuous Flow Interchange, Dual Lefts, etc.).

Standard. If the conditions are such that the district recommends using values that result in a yellow change interval less than what is calculated by the formula (using the values of t = 1 second and a = 10 ft/sec2) and/or a red clearance interval less than what was calculated by using the formula, then a high level of discussion/collaboration with Central Office Traffic Division shall be made.

Support. EPG 902.5.11 contains provisions regarding the display of steady CIRCULAR YELLOW signal indications to approaches from which drivers are allowed to make permissive left turns.

Standard. The durations of yellow change intervals and red clearance intervals shall be consistent with the determined values within the technical capabilities of the controller unit. The duration of a yellow change interval shall not vary on a cycle-by-cycle basis within the same signal timing plan.

The duration of a red clearance interval shall not be decreased or omitted on a cycle-by-cycle basis within the same signal timing plan.

Standard. Except for warning beacons mounted on advance warning signs on the approach to a signalized location (see EPG 903.6.28), signal displays that are intended to provide a “pre-yellow warning” interval, such as flashing green signal indications, vehicular countdown displays, or other similar displays, shall not be used at a signalized location.

Support. The use of signal displays (other than warning beacons mounted on advance warning signs) that convey a “pre-yellow warning” have been found by research to increase the frequency of crashes.

902.5.37 Detector Settings

Support. With actuated control and properly timed detectors, the green time can be distributed to the needed movement and taken away when demand is gone. In order to keep this rotation of phases moving along without dwelling on a movement with little demand, the settings must be programmed to match the type, size and location of the detectors.

902.5.37.1 Stop Bar Detectors

Support. The most common placement of detection senses the vehicle at the stop bar. This location is generally used for minor approaches, mainline turning lanes, and low-speed mainline through lanes. When this location is used, the type of detection is set for "presence". Presence detection allows for a call to be placed to the controller whenever a vehicle is in the zone of detection, and the call is not removed until the vehicle leaves the detected zone.

The setting to control the time to elapse without a vehicle call before changing phases is the "passage" or "gap" time. This timer will reset if a vehicle is detected before the max green has timed out and extend the green indication. If the timer reaches zero before another call is placed, the controller "gaps out" and serves the next phase.

Settings for the passage time vary on how much of a gap to allow between successive vehicles before the following vehicle loses the right of way. Generally, the larger the detection zone the shorter the passage time.

902.5.37.2 Advance Detectors and Gap Reduction

Support. Advance detectors are used for through movements on the major roadway to create a detection zone in advance of the stop bar, especially if the 85th percentile speeds on the major roadway are 45 mph or more. These detectors are typically placed a distance of five seconds behind the stop bar at the 85th percentile speed. Because of the long spacing from the stop bar, sole use of the standard passage time would result in extended green times with large gaps. Gap reduction control provides a means of decreasing the passage time as the speed of the flow increases.

Gap reduction settings and added initial time
Gap reduction settings and added initial time

The settings for gap reduction control are (terms may vary from brand to brand, consult controller manual for terminology):

1. Passage Time. When used in gap reduction control, passage time becomes the maximum gap time allowed. Its purpose is to provide sufficient time so a vehicle moving at the prevailing speed can travel from the detector to the stop bar.
2. Minimum Gap. This is the smallest gap time allowed, and is the lowest time allowed after gap reduction has occurred.
3. Time Before Reduction. This setting is the time to postpone the start of gap reduction from passage time to minimum gap time. This time is usually set up to allow any queue to accelerate up to a free flow speed.
4. Time To Reduce. After "Time Before Reduction" has reached zero, this timer begins. This is the time allowed for gap reduction to go from its passage time to the minimum gap time. Reduction is linear.
5. Added Initial. This setting allows the controller to increase the minimum green time to account for the vehicles stored between the detector and the stop bar at the beginning of the green interval. Without this setting, the minimum green would have to be set high enough to insure all vehicles could clear the intersection. This time is set based on the number of seconds added for each detection while the phase is not green, usually 0.5 to one second added to the programmed minimum per actuation.

The benefit of these settings is best realized when stop bar detection is not used on the approach or is de-activated during the approach green interval.

902.5.37.3 Detection on High-Speed Approaches

Support. With signals installed on high-speed roadways (85th percentile speed of 45 mph or more), a single advance detector may not be able to be placed in the proper location to keep vehicles from the "dilemma zone" conflict. The "dilemma zone" is the area approaching the intersection where drivers first see a yellow indication, but is too far away to proceed through the intersection, and too close to stop comfortably. If a advance detector is placed too close to the intersection, it may not detect fast vehicles in time to control them with gap timing. If placed too far back with high gap times, the mainline will be needlessly favored with long green times.

One option using in-ground detection is the placement of two pulse detectors per lane per approach spaced far enough apart to take a high-speed vehicle through the intersection. One detector is placed eight seconds in advance of the stop bar and the second is placed five seconds in advance of the stop bar (based on an operating speed at the 85th percentile). Minimum gap is set to three seconds using gap reduction control.

This allows for a vehicle approaching the intersection at the 85th percentile speed to hit the first detector and extend their call for at least three seconds once gap reduction is finished. At the 85th percentile speed, they will hit the next detector five seconds away from the stop bar, and extend their call another three seconds. After this second extension, the vehicle is two seconds away from the stop bar. This is close enough to allow it to clear during the yellow and red intervals. Any vehicles moving faster than the 85th percentile speed will hit the five second detector before the gap times out, and vehicles traveling slower will gap-out before reaching the five second detector.

Fig. 902.5.37.3
Fig. 902.5.37.3


Table 902.5.37.3 is a reference for detector placement.

Table 902.5.37.3 Vehicular Distance Traveled

Speed Time, in seconds
mphft./sec1581015202530354045505560
Distance Traveled in Feet
11.51.57.311.71522293744515966738188
22.92.915232944597388103117132147161176
34.44.42235446688110132154176198220242264
45.95.929475988117147176205235264293323352
57.37.3375973110147183220257293330367403440
1014.71573117147220293367440513587660733807880
1522.022110176220330440550660770880990110012101320
2029.329147235293440587733880102711731320146716131760
2536.7371832933675507339171100128314671650183320172200
3044.04422035244066088011001320154017601980220024202640
3551.351257411513770102712831540179720532310256728233080
4058.759293469587880117314671760205323472640293332273520
4566.066330528660990132016501980231026402970330036303960
5073.3733675877331100146718332200256729333300366740334400
5580.7814036458071210161320172420282332273630403344374840
6088.0884407048801320176022002640308035203960440048405280
6595.3954777639531430190723832860333738134290476752435720
70102.710351382110271540205325673080359341074620513356476160
75110.011055088011001650220027503300385044004950550060506600
80117.311758793911731760234729333520410746935280586764537040
85124.712562399712471870249331173740436349875610623368577480
90132.0132660105613201980264033003960462052805940660072607920


902.5.37.4 Delay and Extend Detector Settings

Support.

(A) Delay Settings. When a vehicle travels into the detection zone, the detector amplifier immediately receives the call. In some cases the call might not be needed immediately. A common situation is a dedicated right turn lane and stopping the opposing direction is usually not needed. A delay is programmed to keep the call from registering in the controller until a certain amount of time has passed. This time might be programmed in some detector processors, or in the controller. After the programmed time has passed, the call is recognized by the controller.
In NEMA controllers, care is taken as to where the delay time is programmed. If the delay time is set up in the detector processor, then every call going through that detection zone will be delayed. This will cause quick gap-outs if the delay time is near the gap time and no other normal detection is set up for that movement. If delay time is programmed in the controller, then the delay time is for all detectors in a movement, but delay is usually turned off when that movement is green. This will not allow for an immediate call in a lane where detection delay is needed when facing a red indication.
In 170 controllers, delay time can be programmed independently for each detector input.
(B) Extend Settings. In other cases, the detector call might need to be longer than the time the vehicle is within the detection zone. An extension time can be programmed into either the detection processor or controller to hold the call for a certain period of time. Once the vehicle leaves the detection zone, the extend timer begins to countdown, and holds the call in until reaching zero. Common applications are where the detection zone is in advance of the stop bar, and the call is needed until the vehicle passes the stop bar. Advance detectors on pulse setting for dilemma zone prevention are another application. Extension time allows the call to stay on while the vehicle clears the intersection.
As with delay settings, care is taken as to what movements need extension timing.

902.5.37.5 Locking and Non-Locking Detector Setting

Support. When a signal is red for an actuated movement with no recall option, the vehicle detection is registered in the controller whenever a vehicle enters the detection zone. When the vehicle is allowed to leave the intersection before getting a green indication, usually on a right turn on red, it might not be necessary to call that movement if all vehicles have left the detection zone. The detector input for that movement can be set to "non-locking" in order to keep the call from stopping opposing directions. The movement will be served with green if a vehicle remains in the detection zone while set to non-locking. If the movement is set for "locking", then a call remains for that movement until it is served with a green indication, regardless of the presence of vehicles after the initial call.

Commonly, non-locking is used for dedicated right turn lanes, and protected-permissive left turn lanes. Locking is usually for through lanes and protected left turn lanes. Other situations, such as odd detection zone locations, might require a different locking technique.

902.5.37.6 Recalled Phases

Support. The use of the recall feature for an approach can increase the potential for drivers to receive a green signal before they reach the intersection, thus minimizing the number of stops. There are three main recall options:

1. Min(imum) Recall. This will place a continuous request for service for minimum green on the selected phases. A recalled phase will stay green if no other conflicting calls have been received.
2. Max(imum) Recall. This will place a continuous request for service of maximum green on the selected phases. Once the maximum time has expired, the next phase will be served if there is a detected call. It is commonly used for movements without detectors in semi-actuated approaches.
3. Soft Recall. This places a continuous request on the selected phase only in the absence of any conflicting calls. Soft recall is only used at fully actuated signals. This is similar to minimum recall, except that a phase with soft recall may be skipped in the absence of actual demand.

Guidance. Recommended uses of minimum and soft recall are as follows:

Min(imum) Recall. Is typically beneficial at fully actuated intersections with an obvious mainline that will need to be served every cycle can be placed under minimum recall. Where detector reliability is an issue, minimum recall is also beneficial
Soft Recall. Is typically beneficial where volumes are more balanced or less predictable and where the signal has protected left turn phases. Soft recall allows for a more efficient use of the ring structure than minimum recall does.

Support. Example:

Using an 8-phase intersection with standard ring structure, and phases 2 and 6 assigned are to the mainline through directions.

There are no vehicles in any detection zone when a vehicle enters the detection zone for phase 4 (sidestreet through).

The signal cycles to serve the phase 4 with minimum green.

Just as the minimum green starts, another vehicle enters the detection zone for phase 3 (sidestreet left), and no vehicle calls on any mainline phases.

Minimum Recall: After serving phase 4, the signal will cycle to phases 2 and 6 and show at least the minimum green time (or more if any other actuations on that phase), and then serve phase 3.
Soft Recall: After serving phase 4, the signal will recognize phases 2 and 6 with no vehicle calls and not serve them, and go right to phase 3.

902.5.37.7 Detector Call Switching

Support. Controllers allow for detector calls to be transferred to phases other than the ones assigned. This feature is very useful on approaches with protected-permissive left turn phasing and detection on a left turn lane and the opposing through lanes.

Example: Take a standard 4-way intersection with phase 1 as the northbound left turn, phase 6 the northbound through, phase 2 southbound through, and standard ring structure:

Phase 1 is a protected-permissive left turn. After phase 1 gaps or maxes out, phase 2 goes green along with phase 6 until they both max or gap-out. Without detector switching, a vehicle waiting to make a yielding northbound left turn would not be detected and would be susceptible to gap-outs caused by phase 6 detectors, even though time is left in the max timer for a yielding left turn. When detector switching is programmed for phase 1 calls to be transferred to phase 6, the vehicle waiting on the phase 1 detector is then placing a call on phase 6 once phase 1 goes yellow, and continues to call phase 6 until leaving the detector or reaching phase 6's max time. Once phase 6 goes yellow, the phase 1 detection returns to phase 1 and allows the protected left turn to come up next cycle.

Advantages to this setting are the reduction of quick changes of phases late at night with sporadic traffic, and the reduction of yielding left-turn conflicts.

902.5.37.8 Phase Re-Service

Support. Phase re-service, or conditional re-service, allows for the standard phase sequence to reverse and display green for non-conflicting directions that have already been served. The most common application is re-serving protected left turns when the opposing throughs gap-out.

Example: Take a standard actuated 4-way intersection with phase 1 a northbound left turn, phase 6 the northbound through, phase 2 southbound through, and standard ring structure:

In this case, the phase 1 indication is a protected-only left turn. After phase 1 is served, phase 2 begins its green time along with phase 6. Re-service of the odd-numbered phase is allowed under these conditions:

1. The even phase in the same ring (phase 2 in this example) has gapped out and is resting in green.
2. There is a call across the ring barrier to another phase (a side street call for this example).
3. The even phase in the opposite ring is still extending and there is enough time left in its max timer. This time must be equal to or greater than the re-serviced phase's minimum green time plus opposing through phase yellow and all-red time.

During the re-service period, gap control is timed by phase 6 detectors and not phase 1 detectors. Therefore, if the northbound through gaps out with demand still present on the northbound left turn, both directions will terminate together.

Advantages to this setting are in reducing the delay for re-serviced left turns. Again, care is to be taken when using this setting at a coordinated intersection. Re-service will not be possible when used with coordinated phases, and available time to re-service side street phases will be almost non-existent. This setting works best at isolated intersections.

Figure 902.5.37.8
Figure 902.5.37.8

902.5.38 Preemption and Priority Control of Traffic Control Signals (MUTCD Section 4D.27)

Option. Traffic control signals may be designed and operated to respond to certain classes of approaching vehicles by altering the normal signal timing and phasing plan(s) during the approach and passage of those vehicles. The alternative plan(s) may be as simple as extending a currently displayed green interval or as complex as replacing the entire set of signal phases and timing.

Support. Preemption control (see definition in MUTCD Section 1A.13) is typically given to trains, boats, emergency vehicles, and light rail transit.

Examples of preemption control include the following:

A. The prompt displaying of green signal indications at signalized locations ahead of fire vehicles, law enforcement vehicles, ambulances, and other official emergency vehicles;
B. A special sequence of signal phases and timing to expedite and/or provide additional clearance time for vehicles to clear the tracks prior to the arrival of rail traffic; and
C. A special sequence of signal phases to display a steady red indication to prohibit turning movements toward the tracks during the approach or passage of rail traffic.

Priority control (see definition in MUTCD Section 1A.13) is typically given to certain non-emergency vehicles such as light-rail transit vehicles operating in a mixed-use alignment and buses.

Examples of priority control include the following:

A. The displaying of early or extended green signal indications at an intersection to assist public transit vehicles in remaining on schedule, and
B. Special phasing to assist public transit vehicles in entering the travel stream ahead of the platoon of traffic.

Some types or classes of vehicles supersede others when a traffic control signal responds to more than one type or class. In general, a vehicle that is more difficult to control supersedes a vehicle that is easier to control.

Option. Preemption or priority control of traffic control signals may also be a means of assigning priority right of way to specified classes of vehicles at certain non-intersection locations such as on approaches to one-lane bridges and tunnels, movable bridges, highway maintenance and construction activities, metered freeway entrance ramps and transit operations.

Standard. During the transition into preemption control:

A. The yellow change interval, and any red clearance interval that follows, shall not be shortened or omitted.
B. The shortening or omission of any pedestrian walk interval and/or pedestrian change interval shall be permitted.
C. The return to the previous green signal indication shall be permitted following a steady yellow signal indication in the same signal face, omitting the red clearance interval, if any.

During preemption control and during the transition out of preemption control:

A. The shortening or omission of any yellow change interval, and of any red clearance interval that follows, shall not be permitted.
B. A signal indication sequence from a steady yellow signal indication to a green signal indication shall not be permitted.

During priority control and during the transition into or out of priority control:

A. The shortening or omission of any yellow change interval, and of any red clearance interval that follows, shall not be permitted.
B. The shortening of any pedestrian walk interval below that time described in EPG 902.6.6 shall not be permitted.
C. The omission of a pedestrian walk interval and its associated change interval shall not be permitted unless the associated vehicular phase is also omitted or the pedestrian phase is exclusive.
D. The shortening or omission of any pedestrian change interval shall not be permitted.
E. A signal indication sequence from a steady yellow signal indication to a green signal indication shall not be permitted.

Guidance. For emergency or railroad preemption, different controllers will call these special movements with different names. Care is to be taken to thoroughly review a controller manual to make sure the programmer has positively identified which setting will accomplish the best preemption routine. Thorough testing, both on the shop bench and at the intersection, is a must before leaving the controller to operate the intersection. Testing is to also be done as part of the yearly preventive maintenance schedule.

Support. The following 8-phase intersection with a railroad crossing is used as an example:

Figure 902.5.38.1
Figure 902.5.38.1

Upon preemption input, the signal will terminate any movement other than southbound through and left (phases 1 & 6). This can be done with a special minimum green that is less than the normal programmed times. The yellow change interval, and any red clearance interval that follows, shall not be shortened or omitted.

If or after these movements have terminated with a red indication, the controller will time out the southbound through and left (phases 1 & 6) for a pre-determined time in order to clear out vehicles which may be left on the tracks. The amount of time given to this movement is critical, and must be sufficient for the slowest of vehicles to get away from the tracks.

After the southbound direction has cleared, and while the preemption input is running, it is allowable for the westbound through and left (phases 3 & 8), eastbound through (phase 4), and northbound protected left (phase 5) to cycle. The protected eastbound left movement cannot be brought up (phase 7). If phase 7 is a protected/permissive left turn, a red indication must be displayed for the left turn movement. This is best accomplished with a FYA display. This special cycle allows for the side street to move along since their movements are not in conflict with the tracks.

After the preemption input has dropped off, northbound and southbound through directions (phases 2 & 6) can be favored with a green indication for a pre-determined time before resuming normal signal operation.

The following 8-phase intersection with a nearby emergency vehicle entrance is used as an example:

Figure 902.5.38.2
Figure 902.5.38.2

Upon preemption input, the emergency driveway signal goes from flashing yellow to solid yellow to solid red. The indications for the driveway will then go ball green. At the controller north of the driveway, the controller begins its preemption routine. The first item to determine is whether to delay the start of the routine. If the emergency vehicle driveway is too far away from the signalized intersection, the routine may expire before the emergency vehicles have cleared the intersection. This delay time must be determined in order to achieve proper operation.

When the preemption routine begins, the signal will terminate any movement other than northbound through and left. This may be done with a special minimum green that is less than the normal programmed times. The yellow change interval, and any red clearance interval that follows, shall not be shortened or omitted.

After other movements have terminated with a red indication, the controller will dwell in northbound left and through green for a time that allows for northbound vehicles between the emergency driveway and the signal to clear out before the arrival of emergency vehicles. It will remain in green for these directions to allow for emergency vehicles to clear the intersection.

After the northbound dwell has timed out, the heavy directions that were stopped is to be brought up with a green indication for a pre-determined time before resuming normal signal operation.

Guidance. Except for traffic control signals interconnected with light rail transit systems, traffic control signals with railroad preemption or coordinated with flashing-light signal systems should be provided with a back-up power supply.

When a traffic control signal that is returning to a steady mode from a dark mode (typically upon restoration from a power failure) receives a preemption or priority request, care should be exercised to minimize the possibility of vehicles or pedestrians being misdirected into a conflict with the vehicle making the request.

Option. During the change from a dark mode to a steady mode under a preemption or priority request, the display of signal indications that could misdirect road users may be prevented by one or more of the following methods:

A. Having the traffic control signal remain in the dark mode,
B. Having the traffic control signal remain in the flashing mode,
C. Altering the flashing mode,
D. Executing the normal start-up routine before responding, or
E. Responding directly to initial or dwell period.

Guidance. If a traffic control signal is installed near or within a grade crossing or if a grade crossing with active traffic control devices is within or near a signalized highway intersection, MUTCD Chapter 8C should be consulted.

Traffic control signals operating under preemption control or under priority control should be operated in a manner designed to keep traffic moving.

Traffic control signals that are designed to respond under preemption or priority control to more than one type or class of vehicle should be designed to respond in the relative order of importance or difficulty in stopping the type or class of vehicle. The order of priority should be: train, boat, heavy vehicle (fire vehicle, emergency medical service), light vehicle (law enforcement), light rail transit, rubber-tired transit.

Option. A distinctive indication may be provided at the intersection to show that an emergency vehicle has been given control of the traffic control signal (see Section 11-106 of the Uniform Vehicle Code). In order to assist in the understanding of the control of the traffic signal, a common distinctive indication may be used where drivers from different agencies travel through the same intersection when responding to emergencies.

If engineering judgment indicates that light rail transit signal indications would reduce road user confusion that might otherwise occur if standard traffic signal indications were used to control these movements, light rail transit signal indications complying with MUTCD Section 8C.11 and as illustrated in MUTCD Figure 8C-3 may be used for preemption or priority control of the following exclusive movements at signalized intersections:

A. Public transit buses in “queue jumper” lanes, and
B. Bus rapid transit in semi-exclusive or mixed-use alignments.

902.5.38.1 Turn Restrictions During Preemption (MUTCD Section 8B.08)

See EPG 903.20.8 Turn Restrictions During Preemption for information.

902.5.38.2 Traffic Control Signals at or Near Highway-Rail Grade Crossings (MUTCD Section 8C.09)

Standard. The appropriate provisions of EPG 902 relating to traffic control signal design, installation and operation shall be applicable where traffic control signals are used to control road users instead of flashing-light signals at highway-rail grade crossings.

Traffic control signals shall not be used instead of flashing-light signals to control road users at a mainline highway-rail grade crossing.

Guidance. If a highway-rail grade crossing is equipped with a flashing-light signal system and is located within 200 feet of an intersection or midblock location controlled by a traffic control signal, the traffic control signal should be provided with preemption in accordance with EPG 902.5.38 Preemption and Priority Control of Traffic Control Signals.

Coordination with the flashing-light signal system, queue detection, or other alternatives should be considered for traffic control signals located farther than 200 ft. from the highway-rail grade crossing. Factors to be considered should include traffic volumes, highway vehicle mix, highway vehicle and train approach speeds, frequency of trains and queue lengths.

The highway agency or authority with jurisdiction and the regulatory agency with statutory authority, if applicable, should jointly determine the preemption operation and the timing of traffic control signals interconnected with highway-rail grade crossings adjacent to signalized highway intersections.

Standard. Information regarding the type of preemption and any related timing parameters shall be provided to the railroad company so that they can design the appropriate train detection circuitry.

If preemption is provided, the normal sequence of traffic control signal indications shall be preempted upon the approach of trains to avoid entrapment of highway vehicles on the highway-rail grade crossing.

This preemption feature shall have an electrical circuit of the closed-circuit principle, or a supervised communication circuit between the control circuits of the highway-rail grade crossing warning system and the traffic control signal controller. The traffic control signal controller preemptor shall be activated via the supervised communication circuit or the electrical circuit that is normally energized by the control circuits of the highway-rail grade crossing warning system. The approach of a train to a highway-rail grade crossing shall de-energize the electrical circuit or activate the supervised communication circuit, which in turn shall activate the traffic control signal controller preemptor. This shall establish and maintain the preemption condition during the time the highway-rail grade crossing warning system is activated, except that when crossing gates exist, the preemption condition shall be maintained until the crossing gates are energized to start their upward movement. When multiple or successive preemptions occur, train activation shall receive first priority.

Guidance. If a highway-rail grade crossing is located within 50 ft. (or within 75 ft. for a highway that is regularly used by multi-unit highway vehicles) of an intersection controlled by a traffic control signal, the use of pre-signals to control traffic approaching the grade crossing should be considered.

Standard. If used, the pre-signals shall display a steady red signal indication during the track clearance portion of a signal preemption sequence to prohibit additional highway vehicles from crossing the railroad track.

Guidance. Consideration should be given to using visibility-limited signal faces (see definition in EPG 900.1.13) at the intersection for the downstream signal faces that control the approach that is equipped with pre-signals.

Option. The pre-signal phase sequencing may be timed with an offset from the downstream signalized intersection such that the railroad track area and the area between the railroad track and the downstream signalized intersection is generally kept clear of stopped highway vehicles.

Standard. If a pre-signal is installed at an interconnected highway-rail grade crossing near a signalized intersection, a STOP HERE ON RED (R10-6) sign shall be installed near the pre-signal or at the stop line if used. If there is a nearby signalized intersection with insufficient clear storage distance for a design vehicle, or the highway-rail grade crossing does not have gates, a No Turn on Red (R10-11, R10-11a, or R10-11b) sign (see MUTCD Section 2B.53) shall be installed for the approach that crosses the railroad track, if applicable.

Option. At locations where a highway-rail grade crossing is located more than 50 ft. (or more than 75 ft. for a highway regularly used by multi-unit highway vehicles) from an intersection controlled by a traffic control signal, a pre-signal may be used if an engineering study determines a need.

If highway traffic signals must be located within close proximity to the flashing-light signal system, the highway traffic signals may be mounted on the same overhead structure as the flashing-light signals.

Support. EPG 902.3.11 Warrant 9, Intersection Near a Grade Crossing describes the Intersection Near a Grade Crossing signal warrant that is intended for use at a location where the proximity to the intersection of a grade crossing on an intersection approach controlled by a STOP or YIELD sign is the principal reason to consider installing a traffic control signal.

EPG 902.5.38 Preemption and Priority Control of Traffic Control Signals describes additional considerations regarding preemption of traffic control signals at or near highway-rail grade crossings.

902.5.38.3 Traffic Control Signals at or Near Highway-LRT Grade Crossings (MUTCD Section 8C.10)

Support. There are two types of traffic control signals for controlling vehicular and LRT movements at interfaces of the two modes. The first is the standard traffic control signal described in EPG 902, which is the focus of this Section. The other type of signal is referred to as an LRT signal and is discussed in EPG 902.5.38.4 Use of Traffic Control Signals for Control of LRT Vehicles at Grade Crossings.

Standard. The provisions of EPG 902 Signals and EPG 902.5.38.2 relating to traffic control signal design, installation and operation, including interconnection with nearby automatic gates or flashing-light signals, shall be applicable as appropriate where traffic control signals are used at highway-LRT grade crossings.

If traffic control signals are in operation at a crossing that is used by pedestrians, bicyclists, and/or other non-motorized road users, an audible device such as a bell shall also be provided and shall be operated in conjunction with the traffic control signals.

Guidance. When a highway-LRT grade crossing equipped with a flashing-light signal system is located within 200 ft. of an intersection or midblock location controlled by a traffic control signal, the traffic control signal should be provided with preemption in accordance with EPG 902.5.38.

Coordination with the flashing-light signal system should be considered for traffic control signals located more than 200 ft. from the crossing. Factors to be considered should include traffic volumes, highway vehicle mix, highway vehicle and LRT approach speeds, frequency of LRT traffic, and queue lengths.

If the highway traffic signal has emergency-vehicle preemption capability, it should be coordinated with LRT operation.

Where LRT operates in a wide median, highway vehicles crossing the tracks and being controlled by both near and far side traffic signal faces should receive a protected left-turn green phase from the far side signal face to clear highway vehicles from the crossing when LRT equipment is approaching the crossing.

Option. Green indications may be provided during LRT phases for highway vehicle, pedestrian and bicycle movements that do not conflict with LRT movements.

Traffic control signals may be installed in addition to four-quadrant gate systems and automatic gates at a highway-LRT crossing if the crossing occurs within a highway-highway intersection and if the traffic control signals meet the warrants described in EPG 902.3 Traffic Control Signal Needs Studies.

At a location other than an intersection, when LRT speeds are less than 25 mph, traffic control signals alone may be used to control road users at highway-LRT grade crossings only when justified by an engineering study.

Typical circumstances may include:

A. Geometric conditions preclude the installation of highway-LRT grade crossing warning devices.
B. LRT vehicles share the same roadway with road users.
C. Traffic control signals already exist.

Support. EPG 902.5.38 contains information regarding traffic control signals at or near highway-LRT grade crossings that are not equipped with highway-LRT grade crossing warning devices.

EPG 902.3.11 Warrant 9, Intersection Near a Grade Crossing describes the Intersection Near a Grade Crossing signal warrant that is intended for use at a location where the proximity to the intersection of a grade crossing on an intersection approach controlled by a STOP or YIELD sign is the principal reason to consider installing a traffic control signal.

Guidance. When a highway-LRT grade crossing exists within a signalized intersection, consideration should be given to providing separate turn signal faces (see definition in EPG 900.1.13) for the movements crossing the tracks.

Standard. Separate turn signal faces that are provided for turn movements toward the crossing shall display a steady red indication during the approach and/or passage of LRT traffic.

Guidance. When a signalized intersection that is located within 200 ft. of a highway-LRT grade crossing is preempted, all existing turning movements toward the highway-LRT grade crossing should be prohibited.

Support. EPG 902.5.38.1 contains information regarding the prohibition of turning movements toward the crossing during preemption.

EPG 902 Signals contains information regarding signal phasing and timing requirements.

902.5.38.4 Use of Traffic Control Signals for Control of LRT Vehicles at Grade Crossings (MUTCD Section 8C.11)

Guidance. LRT movements in semi-exclusive alignments at non-gated grade crossings that are equipped with traffic control signals should be controlled by special LRT signal indications. See MUTCD Section 8C.11 for more information regarding these LRT signal indications.

Support. EPG 902.5.38 contains information about the use of LRT signal indications shown in MUTCD Figure 8C-3 for the control of exclusive bus movements at “queue jumper lanes” and for the control of exclusive bus rapid transit movements on semi-exclusive or mixed-use alignments.

Option. Standard traffic control signals may be used instead of LRT traffic control signals to control the movement of LRT vehicles, see EPG 902.5.38.3.

Standard. If a separate set of standard traffic control signal indications (red, yellow, and green circular and arrow indications) is used to control LRT movements, the indications shall be positioned so they are not visible to motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists, see EPG 902.5.18 Visibility, Aiming, and Shielding of Signal Faces.

If the LRT crossing control is separate from the intersection control, the two shall be interconnected. The LRT signal phase shall not be terminated until after the LRT vehicle has cleared the crossing.

902.5.39 Flashing Operation of Traffic Control Signals – General (MUTCD Section 4D.28)

Standard. The light source of a flashing signal indication shall be flashed continuously at a rate of not less than 50 or more than 60 times per minute.

The displayed period of each flash shall be a minimum of 1/2 and a maximum of 2/3 of the total flash cycle.

Flashing signal indications shall comply with the requirements of other Sections of this Manual regarding visibility-limiting or positioning of conflicting signal indications, except that flashing yellow signal indications for through traffic shall not be required to be visibility-limited or positioned to minimize visual conflict for road users in separately controlled turn lanes.

Each traffic control signal shall be provided with an independent flasher mechanism that operates in compliance with this article.

The flashing operation shall not be terminated by removal or turn off of the controller unit or of the conflict monitor (malfunction management unit) or both.

A manual switch, a conflict monitor (malfunction management unit) circuit, and, if appropriate, automatic means shall be provided to initiate the flashing mode.

Support. There are two types flashing operation: all-direction malfunction flash and all-direction programmed flash.

All-direction malfunction flash is the flash operation that occurs when the signalized intersection is operating inappropriately and is initiated by the conflict monitor. All-direction programmed flash is the flash operation that is programmed into the controller to flash the signal during specific times every day.

Standard. All-direction malfunction flash is permitted to be made at any time.

Actuated intersections shall not have all-direction programmed flash, they shall be operational at all times. For pretimed intersections, every effort shall be made to upgrade the signalized intersection from pretimed to actuated operation. All-direction programmed flash shall be removed from all intersections by January 1, 2012.

Option. If a pretimed intersection equipment cannot be upgraded to actuated operation, then the pretimed intersection can have all-direction programmed flash if the cycle length cannot be reduced to accommodate lower traffic volumes during late-night periods. Intersections may have all-direction programmed flash between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. if an engineering study (crash history analysis, sight distance, volume, delay, etc.) supports the use.

Guidance. Several factors should be used with good engineering judgment when making the decision to implement all-direction programmed flashing operation. Among these is crash history and sight distance. If correctable crashes were a significant warrant for installation, then all-direction flashing operation should not be acceptable at any time.

Standard. If sight distance is below minimum sight distances shown in Table 903.6.28 Requirements for Advance Traffic Control Sign Placements, then no flashing operation shall be considered.

Guidance. If an engineering study supports the use of all-direction programmed flash at a fully actuated intersection, then consideration can be given to flashing isolated fully actuated signals yellow/red where high-speed approaches are involved. It has been common to leave a fully actuated signal operating free at all times. However, if sight distance is adequate and mainline volumes are light, then yellow/red all-direction flash can reduce the chances for crashes since mainline traffic will not have to stop for a single vehicle on an opposing approach.

Fully actuated signals within a coordinated system should be analyzed for possible free operation when other signals within the system are on all-direction flash. It can be more beneficial to all-direction flash the fully actuated signal yellow/red with the other signals in order to be consistent with the rest of the system.

Support. An in-house MoDOT safety study identified that crashes at locations with late night/early morning flash tend to occur before 2 a.m. and in FHWA’s publication Signalized Intersections: Informational Guide (FHWA-HRT-04-091), it was found that that an estimated 78% reduction in right-angle collisions and an estimated 32% reduction in all collisions can be expected with the removal from late night/early morning flash mode.

Support. EPG 902.6 Pedestrian Control Features and EPG 902.6.9 Accessible Pedestrian Signals and Detectors – General contain information regarding the operation of pedestrian signal heads and accessible pedestrian signal detector pushbutton locator tones, respectively, during flashing operation.

902.5.40 Flashing Operation – Transition Into Flashing Mode (MUTCD Section 4D.29)

Standard. The transition from steady (stop-and-go) mode to flashing mode, if initiated by a conflict monitor (malfunction management unit – “MMU”) (malfunction flash) or by a manual switch, shall be permitted to be made at any time it is in fail safe operation.

Programmed changes (programmed flash) from steady (stop-and-go) mode to flashing mode shall be made under either of the following circumstances:

A. At the end of the common major-street red interval (such as just prior to the start of the green in both directions on the major street), or
B. Directly from a CIRCULAR GREEN signal indication to a flashing CIRCULAR YELLOW signal indication, or from a GREEN ARROW signal indication to a flashing YELLOW ARROW signal indication, or from a flashing YELLOW ARROW signal indication (see EPG 902.5.23 to EPG 902.5.33) to a flashing YELLOW ARROW signal indication in a different signal section.

During programmed changes into flashing mode, no green signal indication or flashing yellow signal indication shall be terminated and immediately followed by a steady red or flashing red signal indication without first displaying the steady yellow signal indication.

902.5.41 Flashing Operation – Signal Indications During Flashing Mode (MUTCD Section 4D.30)

Guidance. When a traffic control signal is operated in the flashing mode, a flashing yellow signal indication should be used for the major street and a flashing red signal indication should be used for the other approaches unless flashing red signal indications are used on all approaches.

Yellow/red flash is generally used for intersections where traffic volumes during flashing operation greatly favor one direction. Yellow indications are flashed for the major street and red flashed for the minor street.

Red/red all-direction flashing operation is used for intersections where volumes during flashing operation on all approaches are approximately equal. Complex intersections (5-leg, large widths, multiple dual left turn approaches) will likely require red/red flash, regardless of volumes.

When a system of interconnected signals is flashed, care is to be taken to be consistent in flash color for the major street so as not to violate driver expectancy. A red/red flashing signal in the middle of a system of yellow/red flashing signals could lead to violations of the flashing red along the major street due to the expectancy of yellow flashing indications.

Fail-safe operation for a malfunctioning signal leads to all-direction flashing operation when tripped by a conflict monitor. Cabinet wiring determines all-direction flashing operation when a malfunction has occurred, this generally means malfunction flash will be red/red since it is wired the same as the start up from dark flash (see EPG 902.5.43 Power Outages at Signalized Intersections).

Standard. When a traffic control signal is operated in the flashing mode, all of the green signal indications at the signalized location shall be dark (non-illuminated) and shall not be displayed in either a steady or flashing manner, except for single-section GREEN ARROW signal indications as provided elsewhere in this subarticle.

Flashing yellow signal indications shall be used on more than one approach to a signalized location only if those approaches do not conflict with each other.

When a traffic control signal is operated in the flashing mode, one and only one signal indication in every signal face at the signalized location shall be flashed.

Standard. No steady indications, other than a single-section signal face consisting of a continuously-displayed GREEN ARROW signal indication that is used alone to indicate a continuous movement in the steady (stop-and-go) mode, shall be displayed at the signalized location during the flashing mode. A single-section GREEN ARROW signal indication shall remain continuously-displayed when the traffic control signal is operated in the flashing mode.

If a signal face includes both circular and arrow signal indications of the color that is to be flashed, only the circular signal indication shall be flashed. A common application of this is a five-section head with a yellow arrow and circular yellow. The circular yellow shall be flashed and the yellow arrow remain dark.

All signal faces that are flashed on an approach shall flash the same color, either yellow or red, except that separate turn signal faces (see EPG 902.5.23 and EPG 902.5.30) shall be permitted to flash a CIRCULAR RED or RED ARROW signal indication when the adjacent through movement signal indications are flashed yellow.

The appropriate RED ARROW or YELLOW ARROW signal indication shall be flashed when a signal face consists entirely of arrow indications. A signal face that consists entirely of arrow indications and that provides a protected only turn movement during the steady (stop-and-go) mode or that provides a flashing YELLOW ARROW signal indication for a permissive turn movement during the steady (stop-and-go) mode shall be permitted to flash the YELLOW ARROW signal indication during the flashing mode if the adjacent through movement signal indications are flashed yellow and if it is intended that a permissive turn movement not requiring a full stop by each turning vehicle be provided during the flashing mode.

Support. For dual or protected-only left turns programmed to flash, the indications should flash yellow arrow when the purpose of the phasing was high volume. When the phasing is in place for safety reasons, the indications for the left should flash red.

Whether the signal flashes by cabinet wiring or controller programming, care is to be taken to not flash all indications at the same time. This causes a severe load fluctuation that reduces the life of the electrical equipment and can lead to malfunctions when the signal is in operation.

902.5.42 Flashing Operation – Transition Out of Flashing Mode (MUTCD Section 4D.31)

Standard. All changes from flashing mode to steady (stop-and-go) mode shall be made under one of the following procedures:

A. Yellow-red flashing mode: Changes from flashing mode to steady (stop-and-go) mode shall be made at the beginning of the major-street green interval (when a green signal indication is displayed to through traffic in both directions on the major street), or if there is no common major-street green interval, at the beginning of the green interval for the major traffic movement on the major street.
B. Red-red flashing mode: Changes from flashing mode to steady (stop-and-go) mode shall be made by changing the flashing red indications to steady red indications followed by appropriate green indications to begin the steady mode cycle. These green indications shall be the beginning of the major-street green interval (when a green signal indication is displayed to through traffic in both directions on the major street) or if there is no common major-street green interval, at the beginning of the green interval for the major traffic movement on the major street.

Standard. The steady red clearance interval provided during the change from red-red flashing mode to steady (stop-and-go) mode should have a duration of 6 seconds.

Guidance. When changing from the yellow-red flashing mode to steady (stop-and-go) mode, if there is no common major-street green interval, the provision of a steady red clearance interval for the other approaches before changing from a flashing yellow or a flashing red signal indication to a green signal indication on the major approach should be considered.

Standard. During programmed changes out of flashing mode, no flashing yellow signal indication shall be terminated and immediately followed by a steady red or flashing red signal indication without first displaying the steady yellow signal indication.

Option. Because special midblock signals that rest in flashing circular yellow in the position normally occupied by the green signal indication do not have a green signal indication in the signal face, these signals may go directly from flashing circular yellow (in the position normally occupied by the green signal indication) to steady yellow without going first to a green signal indication.

902.5.43 Power Outages at Signalized Intersections

Standard. Each district shall develop a power outage plan for signalized intersections that includes information about the installation, use, and recovery of Temporary Stop Signs (TSS) and the installation of battery backup systems. This subarticle provides information for these items.

902.5.43.1 Temporary Stop Signs at Signalized Intersections

Support. Temporary Stop Signs (TSS) refer to stop signs that meet the MUTCD stop sign design requirements for regulatory signs and are temporarily installed at signalized intersections where the traffic signals cannot function due to damage and/or power outage. These temporary placements include but are not limited to roll-up stop signs, temporary mounts on the signal vertical upright, or stop signs mounted on other crash worthy devices.

Standard. Such signs shall remain at the intersection until power at the the non-functioning signalized intersection has been restored (see EPG 902.4.43.1.4 Recovery).

902.5.43.1.1 Conditions For Use

Guidance. TSS should be erected at locations where a signalized intersection is non-functioning. A non-functioning signalized intersection is defined as an intersection that is equipped with a traffic signal that is damaged and/or without power which cannot display proper indications to control traffic.

After verifying that the signal is non-functioning, Districts should contact the appropriate utility company to notify them of the power outage, if applicable, and to determine if power will be restored in a reasonable amount of time (at the District’s discretion). In which case, TSS are not required. If used, the TSS should be deployed as soon as practical depending on location of the signalized intersection and the stored TSS. Districts should also request police assistance for traffic control if they are not already present at the site or aware of the power outage. Outside of normal business hours, it might be necessary for the electrician or maintenance personnel to directly contact the highway patrol or local police and the power company. When a signalized intersection is non-functioning, then TSS should be installed when one of the following conditions is met:

  • When the traffic signal is both damaged and without power, or
  • When the traffic signal is without power and restoration of power using an alternate power source is not possible.

Standard. When TSS are utilized at a signalized intersection that is non-functioning, the District shall decide whether the power shall be disconnected or whether the signal should be switched to flash to avoid conflicts when power is restored. If switched to flash, the flash shall be red-red since TSS will be installed on all approaches, if used, at a signalized intersection without power (dark signals are to be treated like a 4-way stop according to the Missouri Driver’s Guide). The TSS shall not be displayed at the same time as any signal indication is displayed other than a flashing red.

A request shall be made of the nearest maintenance building, emergency responder, or external emergency responder (whomever stores the TSS) to bring stop signs to the intersection. Personnel or emergency responders instructed in signal operation shall disconnect the power or switch the signal to flash operation (external emergency responders will do this in the signal cabinet police door) before placing the TSS. Without this change in operation, the traffic signal could return to steady (stop-and-go) mode within seconds after the signal is repaired or power is restored, which would cause conflicts between the signal and the TSS (conflicting green or yellow indications with a stop sign for the same approach). The signal shall be visible to traffic on all approaches and all of these approaches will flash upon restoration of power (see EPG 902.5.43.2 for more information regarding Startup from Dark).

Guidance. When law enforcement is present at a non-functioning signalized intersection to direct traffic, then the TSS that have been placed should be covered or removed to avoid conflicts (the law enforcements authority supersedes the TSS).

Option. If it has been determined that the power outage will last for an extended amount of time (at the district’s discretion) the signal heads may be covered to reduce the confusion of approaching motorists.

Guidance. If signal heads are covered, the appropriate enforcement agency should be advised and asked to occasionally monitor the intersection. Also, the power company should be advised and asked to notify proper personnel when the power is restored.

902.5.43.1.2 Location and Placement

Standard. The signalized intersection locations for installation of TSS shall meet the conditions of use in EPG 902.5.43.1.1 and shall be at the discretion of the district. Each District shall develop a list of critical signalized intersections to establish a priority for TSS installation. The TSS prioritized installation list developed by each district shall be in each district’s Power Outage Plan.

Guidance. The installation of TSS should begin at the indentified critical intersections and should be prioritized as follows (as applicable to each district):

1. Signals with railroad preemption
2. Signals with a speed limit greater than 50 mph
3. Signals with a high accident rate
4. Intersections difficult to flag or require multiple flaggers (non-routine roadway configurations/geometry, SPUIs, multi-lane approaches, etc.)
5. Signals with high volumes (freeway type off-ramps, major roadways, etc.)
6. Signals with frequent power outages
7. Signals located at schools.

As battery backup systems are installed (see EPG 902.5.43.3 Battery Backup Systems at Signalized Intersections) at signalized intersections, districts should re-evaluate their list of prioritized intersections for the installation of TSS.

Standard. On all roadways, TSS shall be placed in a location where they are visible to all lanes. On two-way roadways, stop signs shall be erected on the right-hand side of all approaches. On divided highways, stop signs shall be erected on both the right and, if possible, on the left-hand side of all approaches.

Guidance. If the power outage is widespread, additional personnel should be requested to help with the placement of the signs.

902.5.43.1.3 Storage and Distribution

Guidance. Each District should store enough TSS to be deployed at the critical signalized intersections identified in the District Power Outage Plan.

Standard. TSS shall be distributed by the district to the district’s maintenance personnel or emergency responders or external emergency responders on an as-needed basis. It shall be the responsibility of the district to develop a means of distribution.

902.5.43.1.4 Recovery

Standard. TSS shall remain at the intersection until power at the the non-functioning signalized intersection has been restored. Power will remain disconnected or the signal will flash until TSS are removed. Immediately following TSS removal, personnel or emergency responders instructed in signal operation shall restore signal operation in accordance with the procedures set forth in EPG 902.5.43.2 Steady (stop-and-go) Mode for transition to steady (stop-and-go) mode.

The recovery of the TSS shall be accomplished by using the district’s maintenance personnel or emergency responders or external emergency responders by either of the following:

  • Complete removal from each intersection.
  • Stockpiling outside of the intersection to avoid conflicts with the signalized intersection (stockpiled signs shall not be faced towards the traveling public and stored not to damage sheeting) and stored in a location to not become a roadside hazard.

A detailed recovery plan for each intersection with TSS shall be developed in the district’s Power Outage Plan.

902.5.43.2 Start up from Dark at Signalized Intersections

Standard. When a signalized intersection has been damaged and/or is without power the district shall have either disconnected the power or switched the signal to flash to avoid conflicts when power is restored. If switched to flash, the flash shall be red-red since TSS will be installed on all approaches, if used, at a signalized intersection without power (dark signals are to be treated like a 4-way stop according to the Missouri Drive’s Guide). If TSS are in place, the power shall remain disconnected or the signal shall operate in flash mode until TSS are removed and personnel or emergency responders instructed in signal operation restore signal operation.

Steady (stop-and-go) Mode

Standard. When power is reconnected or when the signal is switched from flash to steady (stop-and-go) mode, the controllers shall be programmed for start up from flash. The signal shall flash red-red for 7 seconds and then change to steady red clearance for 6 seconds followed by beginning of major-street green interval or if there is no common major-street green interval, at the beginning of the green interval for the major traffic movement on the major street.

902.5.43.3 Battery Backup Systems at Signalized Intersections

902.5.43.3.1 Installation/Placement

Standard. Each district shall develop a list of critical signalized intersections to establish a priority for the installation of Battery Backup Systems (BBS) as part of the district’s Power Outage Plan.

Guidance. The installation of BBS should begin at the identified critical intersections and should be prioritized as follows (as applicable to each district):

1. Signals with railroad preemption
2. Signals with a speed limit greater than 50 mph
3. Signals with a high accident rate
4. Intersections difficult to flag or require multiple flaggers (non-routine roadway configurations/geometry, SPUIs, multi-lane approaches, etc.)
5. Signals with high volumes (freeway type off-ramps, major roadways, etc.)
6. Signals with frequent power outages
7. Signals located at schools.

Each district’s prioritized installation list for BBS should be based on their traffic conditions and needs. The prioritized TSS installation list will need to be reevaluated as BBS are installed.

902.5.43.3.2 Duration

Standard. BBS shall be capable of operating at a minimum of 2 hours in steady (stop-and-go) mode and a minimum of 2 hours in flash operation.

Guidance. Any signalized intersection with BBS should have a generator socket for extended operation.

902.5.44 Temporary and Portable Traffic Control Signals (MUTCD Section 4D.32)

Support. A temporary traffic control signal is generally installed using methods that minimize the costs of installation, relocation, and/or removal. Typical temporary traffic control signals are for specific purposes, such as for one-lane, two-way facilities in temporary traffic control zones (see EPG 902.9), for a haul-road intersection, or for access to a site that will have a permanent access point developed at another location in the near future.

Standard. Advance signing shall be used when employing a temporary traffic control signal. A temporary traffic control signal shall:

A. Meet the physical display and operational requirements of a conventional traffic control signal.
B. Be removed when no longer needed.
C. Be placed in the flashing mode when not being used if it will be operated in the steady mode within 5 working days; otherwise, it shall be removed.
D. Be placed in the flashing mode during periods when it is not desirable to operate the signal, or the signal heads shall be covered, turned, or taken down to indicate that the signal is not in operation. Flash times outlined in EPG 902.5.39 are not applicable to temporary traffic signals.

Guidance. A temporary traffic control signal should be used only if engineering judgment indicates that installing the signal will improve the overall safety and/or operation of the location.

The use of temporary traffic control signals by a work crew on a regular basis in their work area should be subject to the approval of the jurisdiction having authority over the roadway.

A temporary traffic control signal should not operate longer than 30 days unless associated with a longer-term temporary traffic control zone project.

For use of temporary traffic control signals in temporary traffic control zones, reference should be made to MUTCD Section 6F.84.

902.5.45 Lateral Offset of Signal Supports and Cabinets (MUTCD Section 4D.33)

Guidance. The following items should be considered when placing signal supports and cabinets:

A. Reference should be made to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Roadside Design Guide (see MUTCD Section 1A.11) and to the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities (ADAAG).
B. Signal supports should be placed as far as practical from the edge of the traveled way without adversely affecting the visibility of the signal indications.
C. Where supports cannot be located based on the recommended AASHTO clearances, consideration should be given to the use of appropriate safety devices.
D. In order to minimize hindrance to the passage of persons with physical disabilities, a signal support or controller cabinet should not obstruct the sidewalk, or access from the sidewalk to the crosswalk.
E. Controller cabinets should be located as far as practical from the edge of the roadway.
F. On medians, the minimum clearances provided in Items A through E for signal supports should be obtained if practical.

902.5.46 Use of Signs at Signalized Locations (MUTCD 4D.34)

Support. Traffic signal signs are sometimes used at highway traffic signal locations to instruct or guide pedestrians, bicyclists, or motorists. Among the signs typically used at or on the approaches to signalized locations are movement prohibition signs (see EPG 903.5.11), lane control signs (see EPG 903.5.12 to 903.5.22), pedestrian actuation signs (see EPG 903.5.30), traffic signal signs (see EPG 903.5.30 and EPG 903.6.39), Signal Ahead warning signs (see EPG 903.6.28), Street Name signs (see EPG 903.7.41), and Advance Street Name signs (see EPG 903.7.42).

Guidance. Regulatory, warning and guide signs should be used at traffic control signal locations as provided in EPG 903 Highway Signing and as specifically provided elsewhere in EPG 902.

Traffic signal signs should be located adjacent to the signal face to which they apply.

Support. EPG 903 contains information regarding the use of overhead lane control signs on signalized approaches where lane drops, multiple-lane turns involving shared through-and-turn lanes, or other lane-use regulations that would be unexpected by unfamiliar road users are present.

Guidance. MoDOT does not use illuminated traffic signal signs. But, if they are requested, engineering judgment should be used to determined if installation is appropriate and the contractual process should be followed between MoDOT and the requestor.

Standard. If used, illuminated traffic signal signs shall be designed and mounted in such a manner as to avoid glare and reflections that seriously detract from the signal indications. Traffic control signal faces shall be given dominant position and brightness to maximize their priority in the overall display.

The minimum vertical clearance and horizontal offset of the total assembly of traffic signal signs (see MUTCD Section 2B.53) shall comply with the provisions of EPG 902.5.21 and EPG 902.5.16.

STOP signs shall not be used in conjunction with any traffic control signal operation, except in either of the following cases:

A. If the signal indication for an approach is a flashing red at all times, or
B. If a minor street or driveway is located within or adjacent to the area controlled by the traffic control signal, but does not require separate traffic signal control because an extremely low potential for conflict exists.

902.5.47 Use of Pavement Markings at Signalized Locations (MUTCD Section 4D.35)

Support. Pavement markings (see EPG 620 Pavement Marking) that clearly communicate the operational plan of an intersection to road users play an important role in the effective operation of traffic control signals. By designating the number of lanes, the use of each lane, the length of additional lanes on the approach to an intersection, and the proper stopping points, the engineer can design the signal phasing and timing to best match the goals of the operational plan.

Guidance. Pavement markings should be used at traffic control signal locations as provided in EPG 620. If the road surface will not retain pavement markings, signs should be installed to provide the needed road user information.

Personal tools