Stop Signs, Multi-Way

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Policy Statement 134

Multi-Way Stop Signs

Prepared by: Dale W. Privette, PE, Traffic Engineer

Adopted by Council: 05/09/02

Effective: 05/09/02


To adopt an official policy governing the use of multi-way (3-way or 4-way) stop sign control.


This policy, upon adoption by Town Council, shall be applicable on town-maintained streets until such time that the policy is statement is amended, modified, or rescinded by the Town Council. A citizen may request that multi-way or additional stop signs be added at any intersection in Cary. Should the request be for an intersection involving a state-maintained street or highway, the North Carolina Department of Transportation shall have final approval authority.


The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) sets forth guidelines for the installation of traffic control devices on streets and at intersections. In regard to multi-way stop signs, the MUTCD states that "any of the following conditions may warrant a multi-way stop sign installation:"

  • Where traffic signals are warranted and urgently needed, the multi-way stop is an interim measure that can be installed quickly to control traffic while arrangements are being made for the signal installation.
  • A crash problem, indicated by 5 or more reported crashes in a 12-month period that are susceptible to correction by a multi-way stop installation. Such crashes include right and left-turn collisions as well as right angle collisions.
  • Minimum Traffic Volumes:
  • The vehicular volume entering the intersection from the major street approaches (total of both approaches) averages at least 300 vehicles per hour for any 8 hours of an average day, and
  • The combined vehicular, pedestrian, and bicycle volume entering the intersection from the minor street approaches (total of both approaches) averages at least 200 units per hour for the same 8 hours, with an average delay to minor-street vehicular traffic of at least 30 seconds per vehicle during the highest hour, but
  • If the 85th-percentile approach speed of the major-street traffic exceeds 40 mph, the minimum vehicular volume warrants are 70 percent of the above values.

Consideration will also be given to additional criteria, such as:

  • Intersections with non-removable sight obstruction problems
  • Intersections with a need to control vehicle/pedestrian conflicts near high pedestrian traffic generators
  • Intersections of two residential neighborhood collector (through) streets of similar design and operating characteristics where multi-way stop control would improve traffic operational characteristics of the intersection based on the following criteria:
  • Intersecting streets are of the same widths and design speeds
  • Traffic volumes are substantially equal on all approaches to the intersection

In all cases, the decision to install or not install a multi-way stop at an intersection will be made by Town staff based on an engineering investigation and engineering judgment.