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Author Topic: Traffic signal  (Read 826169 times)

jeffandnicole

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Re: Traffic signal
« Reply #4775 on: September 15, 2022, 10:57:46 PM »

The flashing green in the USA is strictly a Massachusetts thing as far as I know. My understanding is that it specifically indicates a pre-emption signal, one that's manually activated by a crosswalk push-button or a fire station signal, as compared to a signal that changes with regular phasing and/or vehicle demand.

Delaware used to have a flashing green.

The main route had a flashing green; the side road had a flashing red. If a vehicle (or vehicles) sat at the flashing red long enough because traffic on the main road was too heavy, eventually the lights would go steady and cycle like a regular signal, then go back in flashing mode.

The lights were around in the 1990's; I'm not sure if any survived into the early 2000's. 
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Re: Traffic signal
« Reply #4776 on: September 18, 2022, 08:58:50 AM »

I drove out to film some flashing green/red yellow signals today in Salem area MA.

On my way up, I checked out the signals on North/Linda in Wakefield. They are bagged.



114/Driscoll-
No sign of changes, operates by resting in FG/FR and will go RY during the walk phase.


Boston/Rawlins - Signal will be replaced in the next year, but is there now. Pedestrians see a FR, while drivers see a FG. When button pressed, signal goes all red, the red/yellow phase must have been removed.


114/Ocean flashing green retained, but no RY. I regret not checking the signal at Leach to see if it was similar. Guess Iíll need to do another trip out soon.


Loring Ave/Rainbow-

Arguably the most interesting signal of the day. rests in flashing green, when the button pressed after 25-90 seconds (yes, it was different every time), the signal goes all yellow, then red and yellow for 5 seconds; and then solid red for Ped clearance.


Lastly, I filmed a 3M signal at 129/Puritan in Swampscott that turns from a green ball to green arrow. I filmed a video from my car, and took several photos.



Lots of interesting stuff left in MA, but sad to see a lot of it go.


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Re: Traffic signal
« Reply #4777 on: September 19, 2022, 06:56:16 AM »

Thanks for those. MA really does have a lot of kookiness going on with those older signals.

There was another discussion about the 3M signals that changes from orb to arrow somewhere but I can't remember where that was (might have been on this thread).
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jakeroot

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Re: Traffic signal
« Reply #4778 on: September 19, 2022, 01:02:46 PM »

I have to wonder, with those older signals in Massachusetts, were there just fewer rules back then, allowing them to kind of mess around with whatever they wanted? Or were there rules against, say, flashing green, they just didn't care?

I don't know the history of the MUTCD well enough to know if, eg, flashing green was always forbidden. Or if it was permitted for decades and only recently (last thirty years) banned from new installations.

The difference in approaching the meaning of flashing green here in the US is quite interesting compared to Canada. Given that flashing green means one thing in British Columbia, but another thing in Ontario, tells me that Transport Canada never defined the meaning of flashing green, but never banned it. Here in the US, flashing green does not have a meaning, and therefore is banned.
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Re: Traffic signal
« Reply #4779 on: September 19, 2022, 01:11:27 PM »

Then again, there are differences in the US, such as right on red arrow, whether entering on yellow is legal or not, Illinois's lack of slip lanes, the legal definition of a signal being dark, and whether a railroad crossing with no gate functions as a flashing red or a solid red.
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jeffandnicole

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Re: Traffic signal
« Reply #4780 on: September 19, 2022, 01:48:21 PM »

...and whether a railroad crossing with no gate functions as a flashing red or a solid red.

In either case, you need to stop on red.  The laws generally don't state if there's a malfunction, but if so I would think motorists will eventually go thru after verifying no train is coming.
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jakeroot

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Re: Traffic signal
« Reply #4781 on: September 19, 2022, 02:37:00 PM »

Then again, there are differences in the US, such as right on red arrow, whether entering on yellow is legal or not, Illinois's lack of slip lanes, the legal definition of a signal being dark, and whether a railroad crossing with no gate functions as a flashing red or a solid red.

I was going to mention some of these things but decided not to. Only because these differences are quite minor compared to flashing green in BC vs flashing green in Ontario (pedestrian crossing vs advanced left, respectively). The closest might be the difference in yellow laws in the US, but at least yellow is still roughly the same meaning everywhere.
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kphoger

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Re: Traffic signal
« Reply #4782 on: September 19, 2022, 02:57:43 PM »


...and whether a railroad crossing with no gate functions as a flashing red or a solid red.

In either case, you need to stop on red.  The laws generally don't state if there's a malfunction, but if so I would think motorists will eventually go thru after verifying no train is coming.

How could a railroad with no gate function as a solid red?  You'd never be able to go again.
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jakeroot

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Re: Traffic signal
« Reply #4783 on: September 19, 2022, 03:00:50 PM »

How could a railroad with no gate function as a solid red?  You'd never be able to go again.

Wouldn't you be able to go once the railroad lights stopped flashing?
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kphoger

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Re: Traffic signal
« Reply #4784 on: September 19, 2022, 03:04:50 PM »


How could a railroad with no gate function as a solid red?  You'd never be able to go again.

Wouldn't you be able to go once the railroad lights stopped flashing?

Sorry, I was assuming no lights either, for some reason.
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PurdueBill

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Re: Traffic signal
« Reply #4785 on: September 21, 2022, 10:04:30 PM »

The flashing green in the USA is strictly a Massachusetts thing as far as I know. My understanding is that it specifically indicates a pre-emption signal, one that's manually activated by a crosswalk push-button or a fire station signal, as compared to a signal that changes with regular phasing and/or vehicle demand.

Delaware used to have a flashing green.

The main route had a flashing green; the side road had a flashing red. If a vehicle (or vehicles) sat at the flashing red long enough because traffic on the main road was too heavy, eventually the lights would go steady and cycle like a regular signal, then go back in flashing mode.

The lights were around in the 1990's; I'm not sure if any survived into the early 2000's. 

I remember those on US 13 in the 1990s too, before the "relief route" was opened fully.  Wish at the time I'd noted exactly where so they could be tracked on later trips.  In fall 2001, I drove US 13 from Greenville NC to northern Del. on the way to UD and don't remember seeing any flashing greens.
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Dirt Roads

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Re: Traffic signal
« Reply #4786 on: September 22, 2022, 12:52:02 PM »

...and whether a railroad crossing with no gate functions as a flashing red or a solid red.

In either case, you need to stop on red.  The laws generally don't state if there's a malfunction, but if so I would think motorists will eventually go thru after verifying no train is coming.

Discounting all of the confusion above, railroad crossing flashing light signals (FLS) and flashing light signals and gates (FLS&G) are indeed viewed differently by the public as compared to traffic signals.  In general (but not everywhere), most drivers associate the running of a red light with police enforcement.  But in general, most drivers also associate the running of an activated FLS/FLS&G as a way to "beat the train".  But indeed, but types of red signals indicate "stop".

One big difference occurs with timid drivers (or those otherwise prone to intense rules compliance).  Both types of signals will experience folks who get hit with the signal such that they miscalculate a hard stop and land squarely in "The Box".  It is usually safe to "stop in The Box" at a traffic signal (albeit at an aggravation to opposing traffic), whereas it is never safe to stop on the tracks.  We've had plenty of accidents where drivers (truckers and others with manual transmissions) have had plenty of time to cross the tracks safely, yet slammed on the brakes and stalled the engines while stopping on the tracks. 

It sometimes gets more confusing when there are gates.  I was once working at a crossing when a train triggered the FLS&G and the trucker didn't have time to stop.  He came on through the crossing at speed, but the gate came down and got caught between the cab and his trailer.  He (correctly) pulled over and was concerned that we were going to pull his license.  I told him to stay in his cab and I calmed him down; we pulled the gate out and thanked him and sent him on his way.  This gray area happens all of time.  The primary safety issue is to keep trains from colliding with cars/trucks (or conversely, cars/trucks from runnning into the sides of trains).

The laws generally don't state if there's a malfunction, but if so I would think motorists will eventually go thru after verifying no train is coming.

Sorry, but that is still against the law.  The driver is supposed to stay put and report the malfunction to the railroad.  In many states, such reporting is also required by law or regulation.  The railroad dispatcher (in some cases, a maintenance dispatcher) should be able to inform the driver when it is safe to cross the railroad.  For many malfunctions, the dispatcher is required to establish a Train Order to protect the crossing (such that trains will need to approach the crossing at restricted speed, prepared to stop in half the sight distance).  But beware, as the first train can't always reduce speed as soon as the Train Order is issued.  If the lights are flashing and no train is coming, one should always assume that a train is coming and stop, then contact the railroad to report a malfunction (never assume that a car ahead has already done so).
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kphoger

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Re: Traffic signal
« Reply #4787 on: September 22, 2022, 01:02:08 PM »


The laws generally don't state if there's a malfunction, but if so I would think motorists will eventually go thru after verifying no train is coming.

Sorry, but that is still against the law.  The driver is supposed to stay put and report the malfunction to the railroad.  In many states, such reporting is also required by law or regulation.  The railroad dispatcher (in some cases, a maintenance dispatcher) should be able to inform the driver when it is safe to cross the railroad.  For many malfunctions, the dispatcher is required to establish a Train Order to protect the crossing (such that trains will need to approach the crossing at restricted speed, prepared to stop in half the sight distance).  But beware, as the first train can't always reduce speed as soon as the Train Order is issued.  If the lights are flashing and no train is coming, one should always assume that a train is coming and stop, then contact the railroad to report a malfunction (never assume that a car ahead has already done so).

Hence these little blue signs, I suppose:  https://goo.gl/maps/dBfZYfsgBZvewbgE6
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interstatefan990

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Re: Traffic signal
« Reply #4788 on: September 25, 2022, 04:19:45 AM »

In the case of stalling on the train tracks and/or getting stuck, I never understood how youíre supposed to run away to safety from the impending (or possible) train collision and call the number on that sign at the same time to report it. Iíd bet there are many, many people who cannot read the blue signs from more than a few feet away.
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Dirt Roads

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Re: Traffic signal
« Reply #4789 on: September 25, 2022, 02:59:23 PM »

In the case of stalling on the train tracks and/or getting stuck, I never understood how youíre supposed to run away to safety from the impending (or possible) train collision and call the number on that sign at the same time to report it. Iíd bet there are many, many people who cannot read the blue signs from more than a few feet away.

If you do ever see a train about to collide with a stalled vehicle, you should indeed run.  If possible, it is recommended that you run towards the direction that the train is coming from (however, running along the tracks towards the train is not recommended).  Debris and shrapnel from such a collision will likely be thrown out in the other three directions.  Regarding the Malfunction/Emergency Call number, the train crew will attempt to report the stranded vehicle and the emergency before the impact occurs.  But it would be wise for a witness to call 9-1-1 as soon as possible. 

If there is no train coming, using the Malfunction/Emergency Call number is still the best approach.  The train dispatcher (or signal maintenance dispatcher) will attempt to notify the train of the presence of a stranded vehicle.  You will need to be standing close to the sign, as you will need to provide the AAR crossing number (six digits plus one letter) quickly and clearly.  Each railroad has different rules regarding their response to such emergencies, but don't be surprised if that dispatcher asks you to corral enough people to push the stranded vehicle off of the tracks so that they can clear the route for the next train.
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interstatefan990

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Re: Traffic signal
« Reply #4790 on: September 25, 2022, 09:16:02 PM »

In the case of stalling on the train tracks and/or getting stuck, I never understood how youíre supposed to run away to safety from the impending (or possible) train collision and call the number on that sign at the same time to report it. Iíd bet there are many, many people who cannot read the blue signs from more than a few feet away.

If you do ever see a train about to collide with a stalled vehicle, you should indeed run.  If possible, it is recommended that you run towards the direction that the train is coming from (however, running along the tracks towards the train is not recommended).  Debris and shrapnel from such a collision will likely be thrown out in the other three directions.  Regarding the Malfunction/Emergency Call number, the train crew will attempt to report the stranded vehicle and the emergency before the impact occurs.  But it would be wise for a witness to call 9-1-1 as soon as possible. 

If there is no train coming, using the Malfunction/Emergency Call number is still the best approach.  The train dispatcher (or signal maintenance dispatcher) will attempt to notify the train of the presence of a stranded vehicle.  You will need to be standing close to the sign, as you will need to provide the AAR crossing number (six digits plus one letter) quickly and clearly.  Each railroad has different rules regarding their response to such emergencies, but don't be surprised if that dispatcher asks you to corral enough people to push the stranded vehicle off of the tracks so that they can clear the route for the next train.

Yes, at a 45 degree angle towards the direction the train is coming from. If it were a not-too-busy crossing with gates and lights where all trains are required to blow their horn before reaching it, I probably wouldn't mind calling the number on the sign with someone else to look out for a train. I could even take a picture of it and then run to a safe area. Now, if it's not one of those aforementioned crossings, that would be a different story. Especially in the NYC metropolitan area with the Metro North Railroad, a lot of the crossings are activated every 10-15 minutes during peak hours.
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roadman65

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Re: Traffic signal
« Reply #4791 on: September 25, 2022, 11:06:18 PM »

https://goo.gl/maps/gaJjHYGWFwcr1wzS7
Whatís up with the vertical right turn signals verses the horizontal straight throughs?

https://goo.gl/maps/usTPaiXrz3k5xS8C6
Again from another direction at same intersection.

https://goo.gl/maps/cVTouxPC6A3pCfqd8
Now EB on US 90.

https://goo.gl/maps/UPzaXiQGEvhXHGhKA
Now NB Carrollton Avenue.


All four directions use horizontal mounts, but vertically for the right turn signal.





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Re: Traffic signal
« Reply #4792 on: September 27, 2022, 11:38:38 AM »

My theories on this:

(1) Are the right turn signals rotated because of the mast arm's curve? That depends on how they are being mounted.

(2) Is it because no vehicles go underneath them, therefore mounting them vertically is okay?

(3) It it because someone who works in the DOT/DPW thinks horizontal turn signals are the bogeymen and aren't allowed?

I'm going with number 3, because the other two don't really seem to make sense.
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Re: Traffic signal
« Reply #4793 on: September 27, 2022, 07:17:10 PM »

https://goo.gl/maps/gaJjHYGWFwcr1wzS7
Whatís up with the vertical right turn signals verses the horizontal straight throughs?

https://goo.gl/maps/usTPaiXrz3k5xS8C6
Again from another direction at same intersection.

https://goo.gl/maps/cVTouxPC6A3pCfqd8
Now EB on US 90.

https://goo.gl/maps/UPzaXiQGEvhXHGhKA
Now NB Carrollton Avenue.


All four directions use horizontal mounts, but vertically for the right turn signal.
Probably to bring attention to them, as theyíre using a non standard phasing style (one I really like, because itís extremely safe !)


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interstatefan990

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Re: Traffic signal
« Reply #4794 on: September 28, 2022, 04:24:56 PM »

Why is there an all way stop and no traffic signal here? Especially with all the turning cars since the straight-through leads to what appears to be an empty parking lot. This is one of the larger stop sign intersections I've seen. I don't know the AADT but it can't be too low, seeing as it's right next to US-131 and I-96 as well as in Grand Rapids. I'm not used to seeing these outside of rural areas.
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JoePCool14

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Re: Traffic signal
« Reply #4795 on: September 28, 2022, 05:50:10 PM »

Why is there an all way stop and no traffic signal here? Especially with all the turning cars since the straight-through leads to what appears to be an empty parking lot. This is one of the larger stop sign intersections I've seen. I don't know the AADT but it can't be too low, seeing as it's right next to US-131 and I-96 as well as in Grand Rapids. I'm not used to seeing these outside of rural areas.

That intersection doesn't really look too bad. Most of the traffic is probably through on the 5-lane road.
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fwydriver405

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Re: Traffic signal
« Reply #4796 on: September 28, 2022, 06:22:46 PM »

Is there anything in the 2009 MUTCD that prohibits or discourages installing a traffic signal at a toll plaza? Since 2012, ever since the Maine Turnpike Authority have reconstructed numerous toll plazas, I've been noticing that the MTA is installing new toll plaza equipment with traffic signals, Patron Fare Displays and the VES cameras, with the latest installation being in 2022 at the soon to be reconstructed Exit 45. I remember reading that the MUTCD only wants the Patron Fare Display as the traffic control device, but I can't recall where I found that.

The MTA did replace the traffic signals on the toll plaza canopies serving as lane control devices with actual units as needed.
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interstatefan990

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Re: Traffic signal
« Reply #4797 on: September 28, 2022, 09:31:23 PM »

That intersection doesn't really look too bad. Most of the traffic is probably through on the 5-lane road.

Also, do you think the three turning lanes on the cross road is because of the small volume of straight-through traffic or to prevent possible backups over the railroad crossing behind?
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Re: Traffic signal
« Reply #4798 on: September 29, 2022, 11:28:46 AM »

That intersection doesn't really look too bad. Most of the traffic is probably through on the 5-lane road.

Also, do you think the three turning lanes on the cross road is because of the small volume of straight-through traffic or to prevent possible backups over the railroad crossing behind?

I didn't even notice that lane configuration, sorry. I think it's probably a combination of both. It's still an odd design choice here.
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Re: Traffic signal
« Reply #4799 on: October 02, 2022, 03:23:58 PM »

Is there anything in the 2009 MUTCD that prohibits or discourages installing a traffic signal at a toll plaza? Since 2012, ever since the Maine Turnpike Authority have reconstructed numerous toll plazas, I've been noticing that the MTA is installing new toll plaza equipment with traffic signals, Patron Fare Displays and the VES cameras, with the latest installation being in 2022 at the soon to be reconstructed Exit 45. I remember reading that the MUTCD only wants the Patron Fare Display as the traffic control device, but I can't recall where I found that.

The MTA did replace the traffic signals on the toll plaza canopies serving as lane control devices with actual units as needed.

Yes. See Part 4K.
Quote
Section 4K.01 Traffic Signals at Toll Plazas

Standard:

01 Traffic control signals or devices that closely resemble traffic control signals that use red or green circular indications shall not be used at toll plazas to indicate the open or closed status of the toll plaza lanes.

Guidance:
02 Traffic control signals or devices that closely resemble traffic control signals that use red or green circular indications should not be used for new or reconstructed installations at toll plazas to indicate the success or failure of electronic toll payments or to alternately direct drivers making cash toll payments to stop and then proceed.
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