Multiway stop sign installations
Multiway stop installations should be used sparingly
The Traffic Engineering Manual of the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) states "Generally multiway stop installations should be used sparingly because of the significant increases in delays and operating costs that can result from requiring all of the vehicles using the intersection to stop. Also, unnecessary stops, when the intersection is clear of conflicting movements, can lead to general disrespect for STOP signs." (From Section 1505 of the Traffic Engineering Manual)
Where Multiway stop control can be useful
The Ohio Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (OMUTCD) states "Multiway stop control can be useful as a safety measure at intersections if certain traffic conditions exist. Safety concerns associated with multiway stops include pedestrians, bicyclists, and all road users expecting other road users to stop. Multiway stop control is used where the volume of traffic on the intersecting roads is approximately equal."
Criteria for a Multiway STOP Sign Installation
The Ohio Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (OMUTCD) gives criteria for a multiway STOP sign installation. The following is from the OMUTCD:
The decision to install multiway stop control should be based on an engineering study.
The following criteria should be considered in the engineering study for a multiway STOP sign installation:
A. Where traffic control signals are justified, the multiway stop is an interim measure that can be installed quickly to control traffic while arrangements are being made for the installation of the traffic control signal.
B. A crash problem, as indicated by 5 or more reported crashes in a 12-month period that are susceptible to correction by a multiway stop installation. Such crashes include right- and left-turn collisions as well as right-angle collisions.
C. Minimum volumes:
1. The vehicular volume entering the intersection from the major street approaches (total of both approaches) averages at least 300 vehicles per hour for any 8 hours of an average day, and
2. The combined vehicular, pedestrian, and bicycle volume entering the intersection from the minor street approaches (total of both approaches) averages at least 200 units per hour for the same 8 hours, with an average delay to minor-street vehicular traffic of at least 30 seconds per vehicle during the highest hour, but
3. If the 85th-percentile approach speed of the major-street traffic exceeds 65 km/h or exceeds 40 mph, the minimum vehicular volume warrants are 70 percent of the above values.
D. Where no single criterion is satisfied, but where Criteria B, C.1, and C.2 are all satisfied to 80 percent of the minimum values. Criterion C.3 is excluded from this condition.
Other criteria that may be considered in an engineering study include:
A. The need to control left-turn conflicts;
B. The need to control vehicle/pedestrian conflicts near locations that generate high pedestrian volumes;
C. Locations where a road user, after stopping, cannot see conflicting traffic and is not able to safely negotiate the intersection unless conflicting cross traffic is also required to stop; and
D. An intersection of two residential neighborhood collector (through) streets of similar design and operating characteristics where multiway stop control would improve traffic operational characteristics of the intersection.
STOP Signs for Speed Control
The Ohio Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices states "STOP signs should not be used for speed control."
A page on the Internet site of Troy Michigan has information on a review of over 70 technical papers on multiway stop installations. The page states in part the "The research found that, overwhelmingly, multi-way stop signs do NOT control speed except under very limited conditions. The research shows that the concerns about unwarranted stop signs are well founded."
Additional information on stop signs
Intersection Safety: Myth Versus Reality - Myths 2 and 3 discuss stop signs.
Multi-way stops - The Research Show the MUTCD is Correct! - From the Internet site of Troy Michigan. This page has information on a review of over 70 technical papers on multiway stop installations.
ODOT District One Planning & Engineering Web Site Manager: Charles Schreck