Sugar Land will soon complete the expansion of flashing yellow arrows at designated City intersections, a program intended to improve traffic flow.
Installed along major roadways and throughout First Colony, Sugar Land was the first city in the region to begin installing the flashing yellow arrow lights during 2011. The new lights have been installed at 32 intersections throughout the City.
Flashing yellow instinctively implies caution, which is the preferred reaction when drivers make judgment calls about turning left into a gap in traffic.
The signals were successfully utilized during a pilot project in the Sugar Land Business Park and later along Eldridge Road, where the flashing yellow arrows resulted in reduced wait times and fuel usage at intersections.
Based on a citywide implementation study, the flashing yellow arrows reduce driver delay and wait time by as much as 28 percent.
So, how do the signals work?
• When approaching the intersection, a solid red arrow indicates a required stop — left turning drivers must stop.
• Drivers must also prepare to stop at a solid yellow arrow.
• A flashing yellow arrow requires motorists to first yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians before proceeding cautiously to turn left.
• A solid green arrow permits drivers to turn left while oncoming traffic stops.
The flashing yellow arrows have the potential to greatly benefit air quality and reduce accidents. A national research study sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation identified flashing yellow arrows as the preferred option for left-turn movements.
“Research data has shown that retiming traffic signals can reduce fuel consumption by up to 10 percent and reduce mobile emissions by up to 22 percent,” said Assistant Director of Public Works David Worley.