Dakota County works to keep vehicle accident numbers down by creating and maintaining a safe system of roads. One place where safety is especially important is at intersections. Dakota County is continually assessing intersections and looking at traffic volumes, delay, crash reports and overall operation to determine if and when traffic control changes are needed.
In the last five years, Dakota County has had 243 fatal and serious injury crashes at intersections—47 percent of those crashes occurred at intersections with traffic signals even though only 10 percent of intersections have a signal.
Different intersections need different types of traffic control. In many cases, signals are not the best option to keep traffic moving and drivers safe.
- Two-way stops: Best used at major highway intersections with minor roadways and city streets.
- Roundabouts: Best used with equal volume roadways
- Four way-stops: Best at intersections with mid-level traffic volumes and approximately equal traffic volumes from both roadways.
- Traffic signals: Best used at intersections where major highways intersect.
The wrong traffic control can lead to more crashes
Intersection traffic control decision-making is risk management. Dakota County is constantly assessing how intersections are currently operating, and comparing that to how they would be expected to operate with a change in traffic control.
On average, intersections with traffic signals have higher crash rates than intersections using other traffic control methods. Crash rates at signalized intersections are two times higher than at two-way stops. That’s why it’s important to install traffic signals only when they will improve the overall operation and safety of an intersection.
The cost of traffic signals
In making a decision to install a signal or any other change in traffic control, the safety of the intersection is the most important factor.
That said, we are often asked about the cost to install signals. Installation of a single traffic signal costs approximately $300,000, not including any road improvements to allow the signal to work properly.
Operating a single traffic signal costs $1,800 annually — or a total of $450,000. Dakota County has taken steps to reduce operating costs by about $90,000 per year by switching to LED lights in traffic signals, but we still want to make sure tax dollars are not funding unwarranted traffic signals that cost you more money and have the potential to make you less safe and stuck in traffic.
Intersection Traffic Control Presentations
County Road 32 (Cliff Road) & Dodd Road Presentation
County Road 46 (160th Street) and County Road 33 (Diamond Path) Presentation
Open House Traffic Control Display Boards