An appropriately installed traffic signal provides an equitable balance of safe and efficient movements through an intersection and improves mobility for all roadway users.

More information about traffic signals:

How to request a traffic signal

Anyone can make a request for a traffic signal by contacting Austin 3-1-1 via mobile app, through the customer service request website or dialing 3-1-1.

To be eligible, each requested intersection must: 

  • Be within the City limits.
  • Be farther than 300 feet from an existing signal.  Placing signals within 300 feet creates many traffic problems and is prohibited without just cause.
  • Be more than 2 years since evaluated or studied previously.  If a location has been evaluated or studied within the past 2 years, it will not be re-evaluated unless a significant change to the previous traffic patterns is anticipated. For example, if a large multifamily development or large grocery store opens in the area and significantly impacts traffic at the requested location.

All eligible requests are then evaluated for further study.  This evaluation consists of 3 areas of review:

  • Traffic observations
  • Identification of pedestrian generators (establishments, developments or public spaces that generate pedestrian activity such as schools, multifamily developments, shops, parks and bus stops).
  • Crash History Investigations

How the Austin Transportation Department ranks signal requests

Once a year, in December, all current traffic signal requests are ranked for study. This is done by evaluating and scoring new traffic signal requests against the above criteria. These new requests are then ranked with older requests by this evaluation score and the top 10 locations are forwarded for further study. If a request has not been studied after two years, it will be reevaluated to determine whether it should remain on the list. In addition to these criteria, if a traffic engineer feels that a location that did not score high enough to be studied has extenuating circumstances, the engineer may add that location to the ones to be studied.

This study consists of an analysis of the intersection against criteria, or warrants, established by the Federal Highway Administration. These criteria can be found in Chapter 4 of the Texas Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (TMUTCD). As stated in the TMUTCD, the decision to recommend installation of a traffic signal is based not only on warrants met, but also on engineering judgment. The engineer conducting the study will consider the warrants that are met, if any, and make a recommendation that is most appropriate for that specific location and condition.

If a traffic signal is recommended, that location is added to a construction list. As funding is identified, traffic signals from this list are installed. Traffic signals typically cost around $310,000 to construct.

Pedestrian crossing the street at a traffic signal.