Like stop signs, traffic signals are used to assign vehicular and pedestrian right-of-way. They are typically installed on higher volume roadways and are used to promote the orderly movement of vehicular and pedestrian traffic and to prevent excessive delay to traffic. Traffic signals cannot be installed unless one or more of the warrants specified by the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) has been satisfied.
See this FHWA Safety Brief to learn more about the purpose of traffic signals, where they should / should not be installed, and advantages / disadvantages. You may also visit the Transportation & Engineering Traffic Signal FAQ page.
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Studies have shown that stop signs are not effective at slowing traffic. While this may seem counter-intuitive, because drivers have to slow down to stop at a stop sign, drivers tend to ignore unwarranted stop signs over time. When stop signs are ignored, they no longer serve their purpose, which is to inform roadway users who has the right of way at an intersection, and crash potential increases. Other strategies for traffic calming may be available, such as speed humps or law enforcement.
Please visit the Transportation & Engineering Speed Hump page for more information on this program. Please visit the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Extra Patrol page to find information about requesting a speed radar cart or extra patrols.
There are several criteria to consider when evaluating whether an all-way stop is warranted. If a location meets the criteria, it will have higher compliance rates, thus reducing the crash potential. If the intersection does not meet all-way stop criteria, drivers tend to ignore unwarranted stop signs over time. When stop signs are ignored, they are no longer serving their purpose, which is to inform roadway users who has the right of way at an intersection, and crash potential increases.
For school crossings, there are other strategies available that may be more effective, such as warning signs and crosswalk markings. Jefferson County staff can evaluate the best method to improve conditions at school crossings.
Safety studies have shown that adequate size and reflective material are important to achieve good visibility in dark conditions. Jefferson County adheres to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), which provides the stop sign standards to achieve this level of visibility on public roadways.