Many people believe that traffic signals are the answer to all traffic problems at intersections. If this were true, no traffic engineer in his right mind would deny a request for a traffic signal. The need for traffic signals should be based on a competent engineering study.
A warranted traffic signal which is properly located and operated may provide for more orderly movement of traffic and may reduce the occurrence of certain types of accidents. On the other hand, an unwarranted traffic signal can result in increased delay, congestion and accidents.
Traffic signals should be installed only when they will alleviate more problems than they will create. This must be determined on the basis of an engineering study.
The first step in getting a traffic signal installed is to determine the governmental agency that has jurisdiction for the intersection and contact that agency.
If the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) has jurisdiction, then contact the Transportation Planning and Programs Administrator in you local ODOT District Office with your request.
The District will then perform a warrant analysis. THe warrants for a traffic control signal are listed in the Ohio Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (OMUTCD), Chapter 4C. If the intersection meets any one of these warrants, then the next step is to use sound engineering judgment to determine if the signal should be installed. There are cases where, although a location meets the warrants, because of poor geometry, proximity to existing signals, etc., it is not signalized.
If a traffic signal can be installed without negatively impacting other intersections or the traveling public, the traffic signal should be designed and constructed.
In accordance with the Ohio Revised Code, ODOT can only install and operate traffic signals at public streets. If a private development warrants a traffic signal, the development must enter into an agreement with ODOT, pay for the installation of the traffic signal and pay a yearly maintenance/operating fee to ODOT.