Traffic Signals

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Project Background

The Town Council budgets annually for new or upgraded traffic signals in response to numerous requests from developers, governmental officials and other citizens.

  • Flashing Yellow Arrow Turn Signals
  • Advanced Traffic Management System
  • Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons

Green Light Technology for Emergency Vehicles

Response to 911 calls have become faster and safer through a program to put traffic light control in the hands of emergency responders. The Town actively works with the Fire Department and the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) to install emergency vehicle preemption devices at signals where they can be beneficial at reducing emergency response times. As of August 2018, 110 of the Town's 200 traffic signals have emergency vehicle preemption. Additional locations will be added to the system in the coming year. 

Requirements for a New Signal

To justify installing or upgrading a traffic signal, a location must meet certain criteria, or "warrants." The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices is a traffic control guide by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration that provides standards for signs, signals, markings and other traffic control devices. The manual lists nine criteria for a traffic signal installation, at least one of which must be met to justify installation. Even if an intersection meets one or more criteria, an engineering study is needed to determine whether a traffic signal is justified. The criteria is as follows:

  1. 8-hour vehicular volume
  2. 4-hour vehicular volume
  3. Peak hour
  4. Pedestrian volume
  5. School crossing
  6. Coordinated signal system
  7. Crash experience
  8. Roadway network
  9. Intersection near a grade crossing

Traffic signals do not always prevent collisions. In many instances, the frequency of rear-end and side-swipe collisions will increase when signals are installed. Right-angle and left-turn collisions usually decrease.

The Town sometimes requires developers to pay for and install traffic signals that their projects make necessary. Examples include the intersection of Northwest Maynard Road and James Jackson Avenue/Carrousel Lane and Kildaire Farm Road at its intersections with 1010 Road and Penny Road.

New traffic signals are also occasionally installed and existing signals modified as parts of highway construction projects. An example is the Davis Drive widening project, which will prompt signal changes at Waldo Rood Boulevard, High House Road and Morrisville-Carpenter Road with new signals being installed at Morrisville Parkway, Park Village Lane and Hogans Valley Way / Preston Village Way.

Requesting a Traffic Signal

Please send direct requests to 311

The traffic engineer will study the request and make a recommendation. The N.C. Department of Transportation has approval authority for requests involving a street on the state highway system.

The state division traffic engineer may be contacted at:
Division Traffic Engineer
2612 N. Duke St.
Durham, NC 27704

Maintenance of Traffic Signals

The Town of Cary maintains all traffic signals in Cary.  To report problems, call 311.