Traffic Signals Brochure - What Harm Can A Signal Cause?

What Harm Can A Signal Cause?

Causing traffic delay and congestion.

A new traffic signal will cause traffic on a major road to stop when it previously did not. Frequent stopping contributes to traffic congestion. In some situations, a signal also may force vehicles on a side street to wait before crossing a major road even when gaps in the traffic stream would have allowed them to cross sooner.

Balancing safety.

While reducing angle crashes, the installation of a traffic signal typically increases the frequency of rear-end collisions that occur at an intersection. The trade-off of additional rear-end collisions for fewer angle crashes, which can be more severe, is acceptable where numerous angle crashes have occurred. However, where there is no history of angle crashes to offset the likely increase in rear-end collisions, the overall safety of the intersection likely will deteriorate if a signal is installed.

Additional consequences.

Where a signal is not justified, the unnecessary delay frustrates drivers. They become more apt to disobey the signal and to increase their speed to avoid stopping. Noise from traffic stopping and starting at a signal can be irritating in both residential and commercial areas. An inappropriate signal also can cause some drivers to use alternate routes, unintentionally increasing traffic on lower volume residential streets. Additionally, a signal located too close to another signal on a two-way road prevents beneficial signal progression.

How Do I Request a Traffic Signal?

First, more words of caution.

Keeping fingers on the traffic pulse.

Traffic engineers and others responsible for the safe and efficient movement of traffic continually monitor traffic movement and usually spot an intersection problem before it becomes a major one.

Public input is also quite valuable.

Seeking the correct solution.

Keep an open mind. Simply describe the situation or problem rather than request or demand that a signal be installed. In many instances, other solutions will yield more favorable results. Sometimes, no change is needed.

Who to call for help?

If the intersection is outside Baltimore City and involves a MD, Interstate, or US numbered route, contact your Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) District Office for the county where the intersection is located.

Otherwise, contact the local traffic engineering agency or, if none, the roads, street, public works or law enforcement agency responsible for traffic operations in the city or county where the intersection is situated.

You can also request a New Signal by going to MDOT SHA New Service Request.