The Missouri Department of Transportation is changing green lights at some left turns to flashing yellow arrows. Drivers are still expected to yield to oncoming traffic, but studies suggest the new signals make that message more clear.
51 intersections have been changed so far in communities including Columbia, Jefferson City, St. Louis and Kansas City. Traffic Engineer Julie Stotlemeyer says the switch has worked in those locations, and more are being evaluated based on factors like traffic volume and peak traffic times. She adds, not all intersections are candidates for the change.
When the flashing yellow arrows are introduced, MODOT places signs next to them instructing drivers to yield when it’s on and conducts a local education campaign. The next edition of the state drivers’ manual will also address the new signals.
Assistant State Traffic Engineer Michael Curtit says national studies support the effectiveness of the yellow arrows. He says much of the work is done by MODOT personnel at little cost.