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How Traffic Control and Signs Work Together

August 14, 2018

Road traffic control is a strategy used to protect construction zones or areas involving traffic disruption so that approaching vehicles avoid interfering with the scene. Traffic control may involve lights, flag wavers directing traffic, and cones or other markers to indicate areas that are off-limits to drivers.

Construction Zones

Traffic controllers (TCs) are workers who are paid to direct traffic with signs, flags, and hand signals. Many times TCs are needed in construction zones where it is necessary to create a detour or shut off certain lanes. TCs are helpful when a two-lane street is temporarily converted to a one-lane street, as traffic alternates between two directions.

Since TCs have a dangerous job as they run the risk of being hit by vehicles, it’s important for them to be equipped with the right gear. Bright orange signs are usually effective at giving drivers the message that they have to pay more careful attention in a certain area. Orange pylons are often necessary to help keep drivers out of unwanted lanes.

Accident Sites

Another reason for traffic control is to clear an accident scene. Sometimes traffic control is needed to ensure that ambulances and fire engines are able to arrive near the scene, as lanes must be cleared.

Usually it takes about 5-10 minutes for emergency services to arrive at an accident scene. During that time, additional accidents can occur due to drivers being unprepared for road blockage or debris. Traffic control is a useful way to show other drivers that an accident is being taken care of. Otherwise, unmanaged accident scenes can create the appearance of chaos.

Depending on the size of the accident, it may take hours to clear damaged vehicles from a scene. During that time, it’s helpful for TCs to keep drivers from colliding with already banged up vehicles and scattered parts. Cleaning up the mess and getting victims to the hospital are the top priorities, and TCs help accelerate the process.

Managing Congestion

Allowing congestion to persist can have an adverse effect on the local economy, forcing workers to be late for appointments. The biggest cities tend to have the worst problems with congestion, as the Bay Area’s Metropolitan Transportation Commission reports that regional traffic has increased 80% since 2010.

One of the modern solutions to this problem is installing smart sensors on the road, which many cities are now considering. Internet of Things (IoT) technology in general opens the door to a variety of smart solutions, such as adaptive traffic signals that measure traffic flow, which are used in Columbus, Ohio. Another example of how V21 technology is playing a role in traffic control is how Las Vegas uses devices at intersections that track both number of vehicles and number of pedestrians.

For cities that are unable to invest in new technology, traditional signs and TCs are often needed to reduce the strain of congestion. An orange sign with the image of bumper-to-bumper traffic helps warn drivers of upcoming congestion. Another example is an orange sign with the image of a TC waving a flag. Other signs that help alert drivers of slowdowns ahead include:

  • Congestion Ahead
  • Left Lane Ends
  • Construction Ahead
  • Slow Traffic
  • Drive Slow When Children are Present

Traffic can be controlled by lights, signs, obstructions, or humans. Contact Zumar, located in Arizona, California, and Washington, to learn more about traffic control and signs needed to steer traffic in a desired direction.

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