Traffic Signals

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 Signal Optimization

Georgia DOT's Traffic Operations works closely with engineers to optimize traffic signals everywhere all across Georgia. We are using the latest technology to monitor your commute in real-time. Here are a few of the programs used to optimize traffic signals.


Regional Traffic Operations Program (RTOP)

This is a multi-jurisdictional signal optimization program with the goal of improving traffic flow and reducing vehicle emissions through improved signal timing on select corridors. RTOP also assists local jurisdictions to quickly find and repair problems.

METRO Area Traffic Signal Optimization Program

This program focuses efforts on signalized corridors across the Metro Atlanta Region. Typical optimizations will study and engineer timing plans to coordinate traffic signals with the way traffic moves.


 Engineering, Technology & Innovation

Coming Soon: Traffic Signal Performance Metrics


 Flashing Yellow Arrows

Georgia DOT is now installing four-section Flashing Yellow Arrow (FYA) signals across the state. This traffic signal includes a flashing yellow arrow that means drivers can turn left after yielding to oncoming traffic and pedestrians (oncoming traffic still has the green light).



The new signals are easier to understand because it uses an arrow to display the type of left turn movement allowed. Here’s what the various arrows mean:  

Solid Green

Flashing Yellow

Solid Yellow

Solid Red

Green Arrow
Ok to turn left; oncoming traffic must stop
Flashing Yellow Arrow
Ok to turn left after yielding to oncoming traffic and pedestrians
Solid Yellow Arrow
Prepare to stop or clear intersection before solid red arrow appears
Red Arrow
STOP - no turn allowed


Flashing Yellow Arrow  

The following criteria is used to help select appropriate locations:

  • Intersections where traffic congestion is a recurring problem.
  • Most “eligible” intersections have standard “dog house” 5-section traffic signal - drivers make “permissive left.” 
  • Most “eligible” intersections have high traffic volumes and accident rates.

NOTE: Flashing Yellow Arrows is the preferred left turn treatment for all new signal upgrades. If the traffic signal has a malfunction the left turn will flash red. As with all signalized intersections, a flashing red is treated as a stop condition and flashing yellow is treated as proceed with caution. If all indications at an intersection are flashing red or the intersection is dark it should be treated as a four-way stop.  

Flashing Yellow Arrow Intersection 

Flashing Yellow Arrows are just one of Georgia DOT’s operational improvements that are cost-effective, proven, innovative and safe. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) encourages the use of Flashing Yellow Arrows. Based on FHWA guidance, Georgia DOT policy now identifies Flashing Yellow Arrows as the preferred intersection traffic signal.

FHWA studies found that flashing yellow arrows:

  • Help reduce left turn crashes by 35%
  • Move more traffic through an intersection, easing traffic congestion
  • Reduce vehicle idling and air pollution
  • Reduced pollution

NOTE: Drivers made fewer mistakes with the new Flashing Yellow Arrows than with traditional left-turn arrow signals.

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