PennDOT Announces First Use of Flashing Yellow Arrow Signals

Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) today announced it will be activating a new type of left turn signal that has been proven to improve left turn safety at intersections.

Flashing Yellow Arrow signals are new to Pennsylvania but they have become commonplace in many states across the United States over the last 10 years. Based on many national studies and transportation agency testimonials, Flashing Yellow Arrow signals improve left-turning safety by helping motorists recognize that they should yield while making left turns when there is oncoming traffic and pedestrians.

“Our goal with this change is to add a reminder that once the green left arrow stops showing, drivers need to yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians before proceeding to make a left turn at a signalized intersection,” said PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards. “The flashing yellow arrow means yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians and then proceed with caution.”

According to research funded by the Federal Highway Administration, left turn crashes can be reduced by as much as 20 percent after the installation of the Flashing Yellow Arrow signal. Also, Flashing Yellow Arrow signals can be adjusted depending on the time of day, reducing delays and improving mobility.

The current signal configuration features a green left arrow to allow left turns followed by a yellow arrow and then a circular green indication. The new configuration will feature four left turn arrows:

• Steady green left arrow meaning the left turn is protected and oncoming traffic is to stop.
• Flashing yellow arrow meaning drivers must yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians before completing the left turn.
• Steady yellow arrow meaning left turns should stop because the signal is about to change to red.
• Steady red arrow meaning left turns must stop and cannot proceed.

The first Pennsylvania Flashing Yellow Arrow signals will be installed the week of May 1 at the intersection of Rossmoyne Road (Route 2021) and the U.S. 15 Northbound Ramps in Lower Allen Township, Cumberland County. This intersection is located adjacent to the busy Rossmoyne Business Center and there is a history of left-turn safety issues when turning from Rossmoyne Road onto the U.S. 15 northbound on-ramp. PennDOT will monitor this location and other isolated installations across Pennsylvania before proceeding with widespread deployment.

These signals are the latest in a series of innovations PennDOT has embraced as part of Gov. Tom Wolf’s Government that Works agenda.
These include:

• The Qmatic Orchestra queue detection system in 27 Driver License Centers to help better manage wait times;
• Automated vehicle locator technology in roughly 700 snow plows so residents could see snow plow locations on 511 PA and to help PennDOT better manage winter service resources;
• Mobile applications for highway construction inspectors that allows real-time data entry of construction inspection results by PennDOT’s 380 construction inspectors, thereby eliminating the need for inspectors to travel back and forth to the office to input data. PennDOT is in the process of expanding the mobile application to its 1,200 consultant inspectors and when fully implemented, is expected to save PennDOT $17.5 million annually.

More information on Flashing Yellow Arrow signals and other traffic signal initiatives is available at in the traffic signals section of “Travel In PA” or at
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