Knowledge CentreTechnical ProjectsFlashing Amber Arrow Signal: Synthesis of Practice

Flashing Amber Arrow Signal: Synthesis of Practice

Practitioners wishing to provide safe and effective traffic signal timing for all road users increasingly face dilemmas at traffic signal-controlled intersections when high-capacity active transportation facilities are deployed. As an example, bidirectional separated cycling facilities on busy one-way arterials with high pedestrian volumes can’t be managed in a safely and efficiently with the available tools and regulations; the Ville de Montréal has considered this common case without finding an effective solution. Removing left turns altogether is not a valid option at all locations, yet another layer of precaution is necessary for permissive left turns across multi-lane cycling facilities; the use of flashing yellow arrows (as in the United States) could be a helpful tool in Canada to allow motorists to “proceed with caution” and turn left in this situation.


This project would investigate the potential for innovative permissive turn signal applications to support safety and other transportation system goals, encouraging their acceptance by practitioners and road users while avoiding rampant applications that would dilute their effectiveness. It would define specific Canadian applications and identify accompanying needs such as new traffic controller firmware.

Project tasks will include a literature review, a survey of American transportation agencies using yellow flashing arrows, a survey of Canadian agencies, and consultation with road safety practitioners.

The final deliverable would be a new national guideline on the design and operation of arrow-based signal heads.

Focus Area:Safety, Design and Operations

Project Summary

In Progress
Last Updated:
March, 2024
Responsible Council / Committee:
Safety, Design & Operations Council / Traffic Operations & Management Committee
Expected Duration:
12 months
Total Funding Estimate:
Staff Contact:Romaine Morrison