With approximately one–third of all intersection fatalities occurring at signalized intersections, it is important to assess and design these intersections with safety in mind.
Traffic signals are often chosen for operational reasons, and in some cases may represent a trade–off between safety and mobility. Some proven countermeasures that can reduce crashes at signalized intersections include:
- Backplates with retroflective borders
- Leading pedestrian interval
- Yellow change intervals
On this web page, learn about these and other signalized intersection safety strategies.
Outreach and Education Resources
- If You Run a Red Light ... brochure
- Proven Safety Countermeasure: Backplates with Retroreflective
- Proven Safety Countermeasure: Leading Pedestrian Interval
- Proven Safety Countermeasure: Yellow Change Intervals
- Intersection Safety Implementation Plans – Blueprints for
Improving Intersection Safety
- Case Studies – Improving Safety through Intersection Safety
- South Carolina Case Study: Systematic Intersection
Technical Materials and Research
- Intersection Safety Strategies Brochure
- Signalized Intersections: An Informational Guide, 2nd Edition
- Intersection Safety Implementation Plan Process
- Low–Cost Safety Enhancements for Stop–Controlled and
- Safety Evaluation of Corner Clearance at Signalized Intersections
- Field Evaluation of Detection–Control System Report
- Field Evaluation of Detection–Control System Tech Brief
- Safety Evaluation of Red–Light Indicator Lights at Intersections
- Safety Evaluation of Red–Light Indicator Lights at Intersections Tech Brief
- Safety Evaluation of Red–Light Cameras
- Red Light Camera (RLC) Systems Operational Guidelines
- Guidelines for Timing Yellow and All–Red Intervals at Signalized Intersections (NCHRP Report 731)
- Automated Enforcement for Speeding and Red Light Running (NCHRP Report 729)
- Evaluating the Impacts of Red Light Camera Deployment on Intersection Traffic Safety Research Report
- Evaluation of Flashing Yellow Arrow Traffic Signals in Indiana
Connections to Other Transportation Safety Topics
- The systemic approach to safety involves widely implemented improvements based on high–risk roadway features correlated with specific severe crash types; the approach helps agencies broaden their traffic safety efforts at little extra cost
- Instead of a traffic signal, consider a roundabout
- A corridor access management plan can improve signalized intersection safety
- FHWA Office of Operations provides information on traffic signal management
- Pavement friction plays an important role in road safety performance, including at intersections
- The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways provides the national standards for all traffic control devices, including pavement markings, signs, and traffic signals
IMPORTANT NOTE: The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) does not own or operate automated enforcement systems, which include red–light cameras. Automated enforcement systems are not considered a traffic control device, so they are not governed by the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.
State–specific survey information about automated enforcement systems collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) can be found on NHTSA's web page.
Additional questions, including those about tickets/citations, should be directed to the local (or State) police, traffic engineering department, or public works department.