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Traffic Control Device FAQ

Below are some frequently asked questions regarding a number of traffic control devices used in Winnipeg.

Left Turn Signals

The following summarizes a frequent request: "I would like to suggest a left-turn signal be installed at an intersection that I use regularly!" 

All requests for left-turn arrows will be (or have been) considered. Many of these suggested locations have been examined previously. In most cases, if it was warranted in the past, the left-turn signal was already installed. The staff at Traffic Signals will be able to tell you very quickly the reasons why left-turn signals are (or are not) an appropriate solution.

In general, left-turn signals are provided at intersections where:

  • A historically high volume of traffic makes the left-turn movement when the opposing through movement is also high; or
  • where more than one lane is allowed to make the left-turn movement; or
  • where high-speed traffic travels towards the intersection on two (or more) controlled approaches; or
  • where views of approaching traffic are obstructed by poor intersection geometries; or
  • where a combination of high-volume and high-speed traffic creates the potential for serious collisions.

Recent advances in Traffic Control technologies have permitted the installation of Part-time left-turn signal operations. These part-time operations may occur:

  • when traffic is "sensed" in a left-turn storage lane; or
  • when traffic in a shared left-turn and through lane queues back past a sensor in the road; or
  • when a left-turn movement is provided as a time-of day function.

The part-time left-turn signal operation is possible only if a newer (non-mechanical) traffic controller is installed at the intersection.

A left-turn movement is added at an intersection when traffic flow analysis reveals that adding a left-turn display will have a negligible effect on other traffic using the intersection. Adding a left-turn movement is generally not advised if it negatively affects traffic flows through (or from) adjacent intersections. Other factors considered in the analysis include an examination of alternative routing through other intersections in the area.

If there is a recognized problem with a left-turn movement at a signalized intersection, other adjustments can be made to the signals to try to accommodate the left-turning traffic without installing a left-turn display. These include: 

  • modifying /lengthening the GREEN display interval to better accommodate the left-turning traffic; and /or 
  • adjusting the timing relationship between intersections (the "Offset") to stagger the arrival pattern of the opposing through traffic flow; and /or 
  • accommodating the left-turning traffic at an intersection "before" the one where the problem exists.

If you have questions or comments regarding left-turn signals, please contact 311.

Pedestrian Signals

The Walking Figure

This indication (white walking figure) permits you to leave the curb and start crossing the roadway. For reasons of efficiency, this indication is often displayed for a relatively short period of time.

The Flashing Orange Hand

At some intersections, the flashing orange hand immediately follows the walking figure indication. This is the clearance interval, so continue walking. Sufficient time is always provided for pedestrians already in the roadway to complete their crossing. However, pedestrians must not leave the curb or enter the roadway, as sufficient time may not be available to cross the street safely.

The Steady Orange Hand

During this interval, the pedestrian may encounter cross-traffic or there may not be sufficient time available to cross the roadway safely. In either event, during this interval, no pedestrian should leave the curb and start crossing the roadway. Pedestrians already in the roadway should continue and complete their trip across the street as quickly as possible.

Pedestrian Push Buttons

At many intersections, pedestrian activity is infrequent. For reasons of intersection operation efficiency, the Walking figure indication is not automatically displayed during each signal cycle. To ensure that the Walking Figure indication is displayed as well as to ensure sufficient clearance time is provided to cross the entire street, the pedestrian must activate the correct pushbutton. Signs with arrows pointing in the direction of the crosswalk are provided to indicate which pushbutton is associated to with each crosswalk.

Pedestrian Safety Tips

When pedestrians are in a crosswalk facing either the Walk or the Orange Hand indication, they have the right-of-way over all vehicles. However, in the event a careless motorist does not yield to the pedestrian, the pedestrian will come off second best in any resulting collision. Thus, regardless of the pedestrian signal displayed, the safest practice for the pedestrian is to be sure that all approaching vehicles are stopped or will stop before proceeding into or across the roadway.

  • Cross the street as quickly as possible.
  • The length of the pedestrian clearance interval is based on an average walking speed. Consequently pedestrians must not dawdle when crossing.
  • Always be alert for turning vehicles. Vehicles may be turning across the crosswalk when any of the pedestrian signals are displayed.
  • Do not begin to cross when the Orange Hand (steady or flashing) is displayed.
  • Always use the pedestrian pushbutton if there is one available.

Reserved Lanes (Diamond Lanes)

These lanes are marked with overhead or side-mounted Reserved Lane Signs such as the one shown here:

The use of these lanes is reserved only for those specific vehicles shown in the sign. Some of these vehicles include buses and bicycles.  

Reserved lanes may be marked as full-time or part-time. Full-time reserved lanes do not show any days or times for use. For part-time operation, the signs show the hours of the day and the days of the week when the lane is reserved.


Full-time reserved lane for buses and bicycles.

Please refrain from using these reserved lanes. Violating the use of a reserved lane during its hours and days of operation (part time or full time) may result in a fine.

Part-time reserved lane for buses and bicycles from 07:00-09:00 and 15:30-17:30 Monday to Friday inclusive.

Making Right Turns on Reserved Lanes

You must make right turns as close to the intersection as possible. You cannot travel through intersections on reserved lanes.  

Read more from Winnipeg Transit: What are Diamond Lanes?

Last update: November 20, 2018

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