Signal head per lane

Safety issue

Traffic signal for each laneA primary concern at signalized intersections is the right-angle crash where one vehicle violates the red signal. This severe crash type can occur if the driver is unable to see the signal clearly. Rear-end crashes occur with a much higher frequency but are much less severe than angle crashes. Two other concerns at signalized intersections are crashes involving left turning vehicles or pedestrians.

Safety design

The placement and number of signal heads have a profound effect on traffic signal visibility. Improving the visibility of signal heads gives motorists more time to react appropriately and safely. Improving signal visibility can be done by providing a signal head per lane that is overhead.

Traditional signal installations may have limited visibility and confuse drivers in multi-lane approaches. A signal head per lane helps reduce confusion for drivers.


  • Better visibility for drivers
  • Provides a clearer message for turning vehicles

Where are they being used?

  • At intersections that have multiple through lanes.
  • Other locations can warrant signal heads per lane depending on visibility and crash history.


David Karnes, P.E.
WisDOT Traffic Systems Supervisor
(414) 220-6804