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Traffic Signals

Traffic signals on US-12/Michigan Ave. in Saline.
Department of Transportation

Traffic Signals

Traffic signals are traffic control devices that provide direction to road users by assigning right of way to vehicles and pedestrians. Traffic signals optimize traffic flow for intersection efficiency, and provide consistent rules for all road users. By relaying messages of what to do and not to do, traffic signals provide an orderly flow of conflicting traffic movements.

The primary goal of a traffic signal is to move traffic efficiently and effectively.

Signal Enhancements

Flashing Yellow Arrow Left-Turn Signal

A flashing yellow arrow signal is a type of signal placed over the left-turn lane at an intersection. It provides a safer, more efficient left-turn for motorists, and will replace the flashing red left-turn signals that are common throughout Michigan.

Studies show this type of signal helps prevent crashes, move more traffic through an intersection, and provide additional traffic management flexibility for road agencies.

Learn more about Flashing Yellow Arrow Left-Turn Signals

High-Intensity Activated CrossWalK (HAWK)

HAWK signals provide safer crossing alternatives for people walking and biking than traditional crosswalks, especially in mid-block locations with heavy demand. Because the devices are only activated when walkers or bikers are present, people driving experience minimal delays.

Providing a protected countdown crosswalk means easier and safer crossings for pedestrians and bicyclists. 

Learn more about HAWK signals

Signal Backplates

Traditional traffic signals can get visually "lost" against the sky. Adding a black backplate and face increases daytime signal visibility by 33 percent. In addition, adding a reflectorized border to the backplate enhances signal visibility even more - especially at night.

This safety countermeasure can also help during periods of power outages when the signals would otherwise be dark, providing a visible cue for motorists to stop at the intersection ahead.

Traffic signals with backplates on M-59 in Macomb County.

Countdown Pedestrian Signals

Countdown pedestrian signals display the number of seconds before the walk signal changes. This allows pedestrians to judge whether they have time to cross the street before the signal changes, as well as adjust their speed when crossing.

Knowing whether to finish crossing the intersection or waiting until the next light to enter the intersection means safer crossings for pedestrians and motorists.

Activated pedestrian countdown signal.