from the Maryland Department of Health Link
Signal control provides safe and efficient traffic flow through intersections, along routes, and in street networks.
Traffic signals accomplish the following:
A note of caution: Installing a traffic signal will probably have the following negative impacts:
If an intersection needs a signal, these disadvantages are offset by the benefits. If however, engineers determine a traffic signal is unnecessary but is nevertheless installed, the following adverse effects may happen:
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Traffic control devices such as signs and markings are the primary means of regulating, warning and guiding traffic on all streets and highways. The need for well designed, adequately maintained devices grows in proportion to the density of traffic, speed of operation, and complexity of maneuvering areas on highways and at intersections.
Signs and markings regulate, warn, guide and channel traffic. To be effective, each device should fulfill a need, command attention, convey a clear, simple meaning, command respect of road users and give adequate time to respond.
The traffic engineer considers five factors to meet these requirements:
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