Traffic Signal Operations

LED traffic signal lights - energy savings and GHG reduction

New lights being installed at Oakville owned traffic signals have resulted in significant energy savings and a reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

All Oakville owned traffic signals were converted to LED (Light Emitting Diode) lights by the end of 2008. All new traffic signals built since 2004 have been equipped with LED signals. On average, each traffic signal has an annual saving of $1,425 in electricity consumption using the LED lights. In 2011, Oakville owns 120 traffic signals and the annual energy saving is estimated at $171,000.

The conversion of traffic signals contributed to Oakville’s corporate GHG emission reduction target in an estimated amount of 68 tonnes GHG emission is reduced annually. Continuation of the use of LED technology will contribute to GHG reductions and mitigate further increases in energy use.

Pedestrian signal displays

Pedestrian signal consists of the displays of white Walking Person, orange Flashing Hand and orange Steady Hand. The Walking Person light only tells pedestrians that they may begin to cross. The pedestrian right of way does not end when the Walking Person light ends and the Flashing Hand begins. The Flashing Hand only means don't start to cross. It tells the late arrivals not to begin to cross. If you started crossing with the Walking Person, continue your crossing – the crossing vehicle traffic will not start as long as the hand is flashing. The Steady Hand is displayed before the conflicting traffic movements are permitted to start. The illuminated Steady Hand display indicates the pedestrian should not commence to cross the roadway.

For pedestrian actuated signals, the Walking Person and Flashing Hand sequence is displayed only if the push button is pressed. If no buttons are pressed, then the sequence is not displayed. The side street green time duration is determined by vehicular traffic and it can be lower than the time required to cross the roadway. Always push the button to ensure you have enough time to cross the roadway safely.

Intersection pedestrian signals

The Intersection Pedestrian Signal is a traffic signal designed to assist pedestrians in crossing a busy street. The signal consists of: red, amber and green traffic lights for vehicles on the street that pedestrians are crossing; and lights with Walking Person and Hand symbols for the pedestrians. There are no traffic lights facing vehicles on the side streets. Those vehicles are controlled by stop signs. A pedestrian indicates the desire to cross by pushing a push-button. The signal will stop the vehicles on the street and provide an interval for pedestrians to cross. Motorists facing the Stop sign must stop at the painted stop line for and allow pedestrians and vehicles to cross. When pedestrian and vehicular traffic is clear, proceed into the intersection only.

Countdown pedestrian signals

The Countdown Pedestrian Signals provide a numeric count down display that indicates the number of seconds remaining for a pedestrian to complete their crossing of a street. The countdown counts the length of time between the Walking Person light and the Steady Hand light. These devices provide pedestrians with more information to assist them with a safer passage across the street. The initial countdown display value is dependent on the length of the crosswalk. New traffic signals installed since 2008 have been equipped with Countdown Pedestrian Signals. Each year, these devices are also installed at selected busy crosswalks at existing signalized locations.

Accessible Pedestrian Signals

At selected road crossings at traffic signal locations, Oakville uses Accessible Pedestrian Signals in coordination with the CNIB, formerly known as the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, to assist pedestrians who are visually impaired. These signals advise visually impaired persons when they can cross the intersection and in which direction. If pedestrians hear a “cuckoo” sound, they can cross in a north/south direction. A “chirp” or a music melody means they can cross in an east/west direction. Additional verbal messages and location information may be provided.

Traffic signal coordination

Traffic signals are timed to minimize stops and delay for all traffic using the intersection. Many factors contribute to the disruption of ideal progression, including varying speeds, the presence of left-turning signals, the distance between signals, varying amounts of green time required by traffic on cross streets, congestion from very high traffic volumes, pedestrian demand, etc. Perfect synchronization for one direction of traffic on a street results in frequent stops and delays to the other direction. Optimization of delay and travel time for all traffic directions usually favours the heavier direction of flow. Oakville has employed central traffic-control systems and state-of-the-art traffic-control equipment to monitor traffic signals and to control their coordination.