Each year, the City of Woodland receives many inquiries concerning the operation of traffic signals within the City. Traffic signals are valuable devices for the control of vehicle and pedestrian traffic. The public's understanding of the function of traffic signals can improve driving habits by slowing traffic and reducing traffic collisions. The more drivers know about how traffic signals work, the less they will be frustrated when waiting for a signal to change. View a map of all traffic signals, stop signs and flashing crosswalks (PDF) in the City of Woodland.
Advantages & Disadvantages of Using Traffic Signals to Solve Traffic Problems
Signals offer maximum control at intersections-they relay messages to both what to do and what not to do. By alternately assigning right-of-way to various traffic movements, signals provide for the orderly movement of conflicting vehicles and pedestrians. They may interrupt the main street which carries extremely heavy flows to allow the minor street movements that could not otherwise move safely through an intersection.
When traffic signals are properly timed, they increase the traffic handling capacity of an intersection and when installed under appropriate conditions a signal will improve efficiency and the safety for both vehicles and pedestrians. In particular, signals can reduce the frequency of certain types of collisions, especially right-angle (broadside) collisions.
Traffic signals are not a "cure-all" for traffic problems. Even though warranted by the traffic and roadway conditions, poor design, bad placement, improper operation, or poor maintenance can make them ineffective. While many people realize traffic signals can reduce right-angle collisions at an intersection, few realize that signals can also cause a significant increase in rear-end collisions.
When there is no collision problem at an intersection and a signal is not needed for traffic control, there is no benefit to the installation of traffic signals. In fact, they can cause a reduction in the overall safety at the intersection. Unjustified signals can also cause excessive delay, disobedience of signals, and the diversion of traffic to residential streets.