Unless a study has recently been completed, an agency typically will respond to a request for a traffic signal and complaints about an intersection by conducting a special traffic engineering study to obtain and analyze the pertinent information.
This study considers a number of important factors, including the following:
With the facts in hand, engineers look to determine what actions, if any, will yield the best results with the least adverse side-effects. When considering the possibility of a traffic signal, the engineers must, by State and federal law, consider the guidelines for signal installation set forth in the national Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, which embodies time wise tested recommended practices developed to ensure that signals are used where, but only where, they are justified by comprehensive, objective criteria.
Where a problem is documented, experience has shown that other improvements, alone or in combination, may work better than a new traffic signal to enhance the operation of an intersection. They often can alleviate the problem without the adverse side effects that a signal may cause. Alternatives to a traffic signal can include:
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