Preferences for Permitted and Protected Left-Turn Signal Displays
American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
Journal of Transportation Engineering
Twenty-two different signal displays for permitted and protected left turns were evaluated from a driver comprehension perspective. The objective was to identify which alternate signal displays used to convey the same left-turn message to the driver are better comprehended and therefore recommended for use in the field. Protected displays compliant with the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices were found to be better comprehended than certain noncompliant displays; however, some noncompliant permitted displays were found to outperform their compliant counterparts. Regional comprehension biases are nonexistent for the most part, regardless of display compliance with the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. Permitted left-turn signals using indications other than a steady green ball were found to enhance driver comprehension. The “Left Turn Must Yield on Green Ball” sign used with a “doghouse” display is beneficial during the permitted phase, but confusing when displayed during the protected left-and-through phase. Other supplemental signs used with various left-turn displays were also evaluated.