Left Turn on Red

The study of British and Irish roads - their construction, numbering, history, mapping, past and future official roads proposals and general roads musings.

There is a separate forum for Street Furniture (traffic lights, street lights, road signs etc).

Registered users get access to other forums including discussions about other forms of transport, driving, fantasy roads and wishlists, and roads quizzes.

Moderator: Site Management Team

marconaf
Member
Posts: 240
Joined: Mon Jan 15, 2018 14:42

Left Turn on Red

Post by marconaf » Thu Jan 21, 2021 22:48

Apologies if this has been done before, I’ve searched but couldnt find anything - although struggled a bit to get the search to use all terms.

Anyway, having spent a long time driving in the US in recent years, I really came to like their “right turn on red” rule. It saved a lot of time especially given their penchant for crossroad junctions and signalised ones!

Would the opposite work here?

Positives
- Allows traffic to proceed safely. As they would at an unsignalled junction.
- Gets rid of vehicles turning and thus not accelerating like straight traffic (and thus reducing the flow that can get through a green signal period) to benefit all.
- With clear ped pri on the side route, then starts to train drivers they dont have it for a wider ped pri environment.
- Busiest Jns have the required dedicated lanes and would see most benefit.
- Seems to work ok from rural to town to city to interstate junctions.

Negatives
- We tend to lack so many lanes at a junction so often wouldnt have a dedicated “left turn” one, so a bit of frustration for people behind a vehicle that doesnt do it (ie going straight)?
- We have more pedestrians etc. Although not vs US city centres
- Cultural issue for drivers/peds etc. in transition.
- Accident stats increase? (would want to see US stats)

Anyway, all those I was with liked it and thought we could benefit here from a similar idea.

Noting we also liked undertaking and that HGVs ddint seem to “elephant race” as bad as we get here because they had powerful cabs. We all disliked the 4 way stop.

User avatar
c2R
SABRE Wiki admin
Posts: 9551
Joined: Fri Jul 05, 2002 11:01

Re: Left Turn on Red

Post by c2R » Thu Jan 21, 2021 22:54

I don't think it would work in the UK, because we never give both a pedestrian and a car a green light at the same time. It's just not the sort of layout that is generally familiar, and therefore would likely cause an increase in serious injuries of vulnerable road users if it was implemented.

Instead, we go for filter lanes and lights. I think our system does work much better in most cases - particularly where there are high turning movements combined with high pedestrian use which has the potential to cause all sorts of congestion.
Is there a road improvement project going on near you? Help us to document it on the SABRE Wiki - help is availabile in the Digest forum.

User avatar
Bryn666
Member
Posts: 30122
Joined: Thu Jun 20, 2002 20:54

Re: Left Turn on Red

Post by Bryn666 » Thu Jan 21, 2021 23:08

A red light should be absolute.

The old GDR 'right on red' used a sign showing a green arrow to signify right turns were permitted. This could work in some locations, but the real question is what does it actually gain, the reason you're usually stopped is because of conflicting movements which you don't want to be put into the path of.
Bryn
Traffic/Road Safety Dogsbody and General Grumpy Now-a-Thirtysomething Man
She said life was like a motorway; dull, grey, and long.

Blog - https://showmeasign.online/

jervi
Member
Posts: 999
Joined: Thu Aug 17, 2017 16:29
Location: Haywards Heath

Re: Left Turn on Red

Post by jervi » Thu Jan 21, 2021 23:11

As you spent a while in the US, what was it like as a pedestrian crossing over a road where vehicles could go through a red as you are crossing?
I certainly know that when I spend time in the states I hate crossing the road, there is no feeling of safety at all. I am saying that as a fully abled body person who can jump out of the way, I'd hate to be impaired in someway crossing a road in the states.

So, a main point I'd bring up is that traffic lights are typically used more in urban areas in the UK, out in the country side you more expect to find roundabouts or priority junctions. In urban areas we should be designing our roads more for sustainable & support active transport modes (i.e. walking & cycling), everything about turning left of red will go against this and simply speed up and encourage unsustainable transport while compromising the safety and journey times of walking & cycling.

Where a left turn on red is appropriate in the UK, there is usually a filter green arrow to allow the movement. This is limited to a few locations and most can still get a red to protect a pedestrian crossing if required.
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.13928 ... 312!8i6656
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@53.30671 ... 312!8i6656

You also have to take into consideration that in the US, the majority of junctions meet at right angles (or if the roads don't they seem to bend & kink them so they do), so it is very easy to understand the three directions as left, ahead & right. While the rest of the world has roads that have been built upon over the last 100s of years, so there can be two lefts, or even three lefts in cases. And then what about private accesses off traffic light controlled junctions, how left is left?

Also traffic light phase cycles last much longer in the US, so maybe it makes sense in those situations to allow right turning traffic to go unless there is a reason otherwise, in the UK its rare that you have to wait longer than 90 seconds to get a green so this is less of an issue.

The only time I'd support left turns on red (or ahead if no left arm) is strictly for cyclists. Some countries like France already have this which was discussed in this thread.

User avatar
c2R
SABRE Wiki admin
Posts: 9551
Joined: Fri Jul 05, 2002 11:01

Re: Left Turn on Red

Post by c2R » Thu Jan 21, 2021 23:21

A few times crossing the road as a pedestrian in America I've felt very vulnerable - here,for example, literally everyone has enormous trucks and they're just not expecting pedestrians to be on foot (despite being between a hotel and a restaurant - there's not even any pavements): https://www.google.com/maps/@37.1346655 ... 312!8i6656

While crossing here at night in New York was also petty terrifying as it wasn't really lit up so we were very worried about not being seen by a car coming round the corner https://www.google.com/maps/@40.7557977 ... 384!8i8192
Is there a road improvement project going on near you? Help us to document it on the SABRE Wiki - help is availabile in the Digest forum.

User avatar
sydneynick
Member
Posts: 1299
Joined: Mon Apr 17, 2006 11:07
Location: Sydney
Contact:

Re: Left Turn on Red

Post by sydneynick » Thu Jan 21, 2021 23:36

In Australia, some signalled intersections have a plate reading "Left turn in red permitted after stopping". I don't know how Roads & Maritime Services decides where to place these signs. See R2-20 in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Road_signs_in_Australia
I can always tell if politicians are lying. Their lips move.

User avatar
Stevie D
Member
Posts: 7668
Joined: Wed Dec 20, 2006 17:19
Location: Yorkshire

Re: Left Turn on Red

Post by Stevie D » Fri Jan 22, 2021 00:19

Definitely not.

As you say, we have more pedestrians than a typical junction in the USA, and most junctions don't have enough lanes to dedicate a lane for left-turners on both the inbound and outbound roads. Where roads have a single-lane exit from the junction, if other traffic has a green light to get to that exit then we cannot have drivers making a give-way turn into it.
The geometry of many junctions simply wouldn't be suitable for it, when you look at the space that buses and lorries may need to make a turn, drivers making other movements that are currently stopped by the red light could conflict with them. Sightlines and visibility would be a problem at many junctions where by the time you can see whether it's clear to go, it's too late and you're blocking the green flow if it isn't.
We certainly don't want to get into a situation where LTOR is allowed at some junctions but not others (which is what would inevitably need to happen), because that is a recipe for confusion and disaster.

User avatar
Chris Bertram
Deputy Site Manager
Posts: 12665
Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2001 12:30
Location: Birmingham, England

Re: Left Turn on Red

Post by Chris Bertram » Fri Jan 22, 2021 07:35

c2R wrote:
Thu Jan 21, 2021 23:21
A few times crossing the road as a pedestrian in America I've felt very vulnerable - here,for example, literally everyone has enormous trucks and they're just not expecting pedestrians to be on foot (despite being between a hotel and a restaurant - there's not even any pavements): https://www.google.com/maps/@37.1346655 ... 312!8i6656

While crossing here at night in New York was also petty terrifying as it wasn't really lit up so we were very worried about not being seen by a car coming round the corner https://www.google.com/maps/@40.7557977 ... 384!8i8192
Hang on, NYC doesn't use RTOR, or so I understood. Has that changed?
“The quality of any advice anybody has to offer has to be judged against the quality of life they actually lead.” - Douglas Adams.

Did you know there's more to SABRE than just the Forums?
Add your roads knowledge to the SABRE Wiki today!
Have you browsed SABRE Maps recently? Try getting involved!

Al__S
Member
Posts: 426
Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2017 10:56

Re: Left Turn on Red

Post by Al__S » Fri Jan 22, 2021 08:01

Not only should this not happen, it should also be law that at signalised junctions in urban areas every arm should have pedestrian signals. No more "just take a chance" and definitely no more "standalone crossing 100m down the street". Reduces motor vehicle capacity? Tough. Pedestrians first.

tom1977
Member
Posts: 133
Joined: Fri Nov 30, 2012 11:36

Re: Left Turn on Red

Post by tom1977 » Fri Jan 22, 2021 08:09

Chris Bertram wrote:
Fri Jan 22, 2021 07:35
c2R wrote:
Thu Jan 21, 2021 23:21
A few times crossing the road as a pedestrian in America I've felt very vulnerable - here,for example, literally everyone has enormous trucks and they're just not expecting pedestrians to be on foot (despite being between a hotel and a restaurant - there's not even any pavements): https://www.google.com/maps/@37.1346655 ... 312!8i6656

While crossing here at night in New York was also petty terrifying as it wasn't really lit up so we were very worried about not being seen by a car coming round the corner https://www.google.com/maps/@40.7557977 ... 384!8i8192
Hang on, NYC doesn't use RTOR, or so I understood. Has that changed?
I don't recall ever seeing it in the city, but it may be permitted in New York state.

User avatar
c2R
SABRE Wiki admin
Posts: 9551
Joined: Fri Jul 05, 2002 11:01

Re: Left Turn on Red

Post by c2R » Fri Jan 22, 2021 08:24

Chris Bertram wrote:
Fri Jan 22, 2021 07:35
c2R wrote:
Thu Jan 21, 2021 23:21
A few times crossing the road as a pedestrian in America I've felt very vulnerable - here,for example, literally everyone has enormous trucks and they're just not expecting pedestrians to be on foot (despite being between a hotel and a restaurant - there's not even any pavements): https://www.google.com/maps/@37.1346655 ... 312!8i6656

While crossing here at night in New York was also petty terrifying as it wasn't really lit up so we were very worried about not being seen by a car coming round the corner https://www.google.com/maps/@40.7557977 ... 384!8i8192
Hang on, NYC doesn't use RTOR, or so I understood. Has that changed?

New York City doesn't, no, but general crossing rules apply, i.e. that green "straight ahead" traffic that turns right does so while a pedestrian crossing is also showing the walk picture.
Is there a road improvement project going on near you? Help us to document it on the SABRE Wiki - help is availabile in the Digest forum.

KeithW
Member
Posts: 10309
Joined: Thu Dec 04, 2014 13:25
Location: Marton-In-Cleveland North Yorks

Re: Left Turn on Red

Post by KeithW » Fri Jan 22, 2021 08:29

I spent several years working and living in the USA - this practice is common but not universal, some cities prohibit it unless a right turn arrow is displayed, New York City is the most obvious example, others prohibit it during peak traffic hours. I dont think it would work here, we have far more pedestrians and the flip side of allowing this in the USA is that in most states you may only walk across the road in a marked crossing zone or at an intersection and that may be a full block as here.
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@39.98632 ... authuser=0

As I recall jaywalking in Ohio carries a fine of around $100

The other factor is that in the USA they really don't have the notion of a general purpose road open to all users so there is little expectation amongst drivers that they will encounter pedestrians, cyclists or mobility scooters on the road. More importantly pedestrians do not have right of way at all times, quite the opposite in fact. The default mind set of cops is that if a car hits a pedestrian who is not on an authorised crossing point the pedestrian is to blame. For this reason I would not advocate it here.

Here is the relevant Ohio law on walking in the road.
4511.50. Pedestrian walking in roadway
(A) Where a sidewalk is provided and its use is practicable, it shall be unlawful for any pedestrian to walk along and upon an adjacent roadway.

(B) Where a sidewalk is not available, any pedestrian walking along and upon a highway shall walk only on a shoulder, as far as practicable from the edge of the roadway.

(C) Where neither a sidewalk nor a shoulder is available, any pedestrian walking along and upon a highway shall walk as near as practicable to an outside edge of the roadway, and, if on a two-way roadway, shall walk only on the left side of the roadway.

(D) Except as otherwise provided in sections 4511.13 and 4511.46 of the Revised Code, any pedestrian upon a roadway shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles, trackless trolleys, or streetcars upon the roadway.

(E) Except as otherwise provided in this division, whoever violates this section is guilty of a minor misdemeanor. If, within one year of the offense, the offender previously has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to one predicate motor vehicle or traffic offense, whoever violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree. If, within one year of the offense, the offender previously has been convicted of two or more predicate motor vehicle or traffic offenses, whoever violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the third degree.

Micro The Maniac
Member
Posts: 730
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2015 13:14
Location: B3272/A325/A331

Re: Left Turn on Red

Post by Micro The Maniac » Fri Jan 22, 2021 08:40

Bryn666 wrote:
Thu Jan 21, 2021 23:08
the reason you're usually stopped is because of conflicting movements which you don't want to be put into the path of.
This is true where proper flow control is in place... it doesn't work where the lights are just on a sequence, and you are stuck on a red with no other vehicles in view.

This is especially relevant in non-peak situations.

I don't think an absolute "left on red" would work, because (as you say) red is absolute, eg but a flashing green filter might work - but given that turning vehicles already seem to have an ability to give way to cyclists or pedestrians, I have my doubts as to whether they'd give way to vehicles who have the right of way...

Micro The Maniac
Member
Posts: 730
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2015 13:14
Location: B3272/A325/A331

Re: Left Turn on Red

Post by Micro The Maniac » Fri Jan 22, 2021 08:42

jervi wrote:
Thu Jan 21, 2021 23:11
The only time I'd support left turns on red (or ahead if no left arm) is strictly for cyclists.
I thought traffic lights don;t apply to cyclists already :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :roll:

User avatar
Bryn666
Member
Posts: 30122
Joined: Thu Jun 20, 2002 20:54

Re: Left Turn on Red

Post by Bryn666 » Fri Jan 22, 2021 09:18

Micro The Maniac wrote:
Fri Jan 22, 2021 08:42
jervi wrote:
Thu Jan 21, 2021 23:11
The only time I'd support left turns on red (or ahead if no left arm) is strictly for cyclists.
I thought traffic lights don;t apply to cyclists already :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: :roll:
In all seriousness that's why Paris lets them turn right on reds where signposted because they were doing it anyway.
Bryn
Traffic/Road Safety Dogsbody and General Grumpy Now-a-Thirtysomething Man
She said life was like a motorway; dull, grey, and long.

Blog - https://showmeasign.online/

marconaf
Member
Posts: 240
Joined: Mon Jan 15, 2018 14:42

Re: Left Turn on Red

Post by marconaf » Fri Jan 22, 2021 09:24

c2R wrote:
Thu Jan 21, 2021 22:54
I don't think it would work in the UK, because we never give both a pedestrian and a car a green light at the same time. It's just not the sort of layout that is generally familiar, and therefore would likely cause an increase in serious injuries of vulnerable road users if it was implemented.

Instead, we go for filter lanes and lights. I think our system does work much better in most cases - particularly where there are high turning movements combined with high pedestrian use which has the potential to cause all sorts of congestion.
It isnt a green and green - but left turn on red, so the distinction as to who has priority is very clear. Which is why it seems to work.

We do actually give green on green in filter lanes anyway where one merges with traffic coming from elsewhere which also has a green - we use lane markings to differentiate pri.

User avatar
c2R
SABRE Wiki admin
Posts: 9551
Joined: Fri Jul 05, 2002 11:01

Re: Left Turn on Red

Post by c2R » Fri Jan 22, 2021 09:40

marconaf wrote:
Fri Jan 22, 2021 09:24
c2R wrote:
Thu Jan 21, 2021 22:54
I don't think it would work in the UK, because we never give both a pedestrian and a car a green light at the same time. It's just not the sort of layout that is generally familiar, and therefore would likely cause an increase in serious injuries of vulnerable road users if it was implemented.

Instead, we go for filter lanes and lights. I think our system does work much better in most cases - particularly where there are high turning movements combined with high pedestrian use which has the potential to cause all sorts of congestion.
It isnt a green and green - but left turn on red, so the distinction as to who has priority is very clear. Which is why it seems to work.
Yes and no... I think that given the complexity of junction design in the UK and the proliferation of islands and refuges and filter lanes, it would need to be explicity signed where this could be done, using something like a flashing orange or flashing green filter arrow, to avoid devaluing the red means stop. I think it is also intrinsically linked with the American and Continental system of having a green to go straight ahead while the pedestrians also have a green to cross in the same direction, but if the vehicle is turning it creates a green/green conflict.

I disagree that it works well in America, except if you're a motorist of course (and then, if turning volumes and numbers of pedestrians are both high, it causes congestion resulting in police manually needing to modify traffic flow). I stayed at a hotel in Brooklyn where police with whistles basically overrode the traffic signals at a massive signal controlled crossroads that my room overlooked during the morning and evening rush hours because of this issue. I'm pretty sure that the junction could be redesigned using the UK filters and stacking space system and sensors/computer control to remove the need to have people standing directing traffic like it was the 50s.

We do actually give green on green in filter lanes anyway where one merges with traffic coming from elsewhere which also has a green - we use lane markings to differentiate pri.
Yes, but we don't do that where we also give a pedestrian a green - who is much more vulnerable in the event of the markings being misunderstood.
Is there a road improvement project going on near you? Help us to document it on the SABRE Wiki - help is availabile in the Digest forum.

User avatar
Chris Bertram
Deputy Site Manager
Posts: 12665
Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2001 12:30
Location: Birmingham, England

Re: Left Turn on Red

Post by Chris Bertram » Fri Jan 22, 2021 10:16

Micro The Maniac wrote:
Fri Jan 22, 2021 08:40
Bryn666 wrote:
Thu Jan 21, 2021 23:08
the reason you're usually stopped is because of conflicting movements which you don't want to be put into the path of.
This is true where proper flow control is in place... it doesn't work where the lights are just on a sequence, and you are stuck on a red with no other vehicles in view.

This is especially relevant in non-peak situations.

I don't think an absolute "left on red" would work, because (as you say) red is absolute, eg but a flashing green filter might work - but given that turning vehicles already seem to have an ability to give way to cyclists or pedestrians, I have my doubts as to whether they'd give way to vehicles who have the right of way...
CBRD as was - now Roads.org.uk - covered an experiment something like this quite a while ago.
“The quality of any advice anybody has to offer has to be judged against the quality of life they actually lead.” - Douglas Adams.

Did you know there's more to SABRE than just the Forums?
Add your roads knowledge to the SABRE Wiki today!
Have you browsed SABRE Maps recently? Try getting involved!

User avatar
Helvellyn
Member
Posts: 19133
Joined: Tue Apr 04, 2006 22:31
Location: High Peak

Re: Left Turn on Red

Post by Helvellyn » Fri Jan 22, 2021 10:20

Bryn666 wrote:
Thu Jan 21, 2021 23:08
A red light should be absolute.
This, 100%. Have a filter if really needed. I suppose a problem with a filter is that it doesn't allow for a give way, so maybe a new aspect could be introduced for that, but whatever it is should not be red. A flashing green has been suggested but I think amber would work better as a caution.

If it's a good idea to let cyclists do it might there often (but not always) be room for a cycle filter lane that bypasses the lights anyway? Doesn't need to take up much space - indeed, you don't want it to be fast.

User avatar
c2R
SABRE Wiki admin
Posts: 9551
Joined: Fri Jul 05, 2002 11:01

Re: Left Turn on Red

Post by c2R » Fri Jan 22, 2021 10:25

Helvellyn wrote:
Fri Jan 22, 2021 10:20
Bryn666 wrote:
Thu Jan 21, 2021 23:08
A red light should be absolute.
This, 100%. Have a filter if really needed. I suppose a problem with a filter is that it doesn't allow for a give way, so maybe a new aspect could be introduced for that, but whatever it is should not be red. A flashing green has been suggested but I think amber would work better as a caution.
I've seen a filter it combined with a zebra crossing (which adds an enormous amount of street clutter - I can't quite recall where I was), or more often with uncontrolled crossings in the past.
Is there a road improvement project going on near you? Help us to document it on the SABRE Wiki - help is availabile in the Digest forum.

Post Reply