Prassas decides when traffic signals are warranted

Associate Professor of Civil Engineering Elena Prassas is someone who can stop traffic -- literally.

Last spring, funded by a $200,000 grant from the National Research Council’s Transportation Research Board, Prassas studied the need for highway traffic control signals for intersections near highway-rail grade crossings. Her findings established a standard for the consideration of such installations.

That standard will be published as a new traffic signal warrant in the next volume of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. The MUTCD, the key reference in the field for proper installation and operation of traffic control devices, is published by the Federal Highway Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The paper Prassas wrote on her methodology for this project was presented at the January 2007 TRB annual meeting and accepted for publication.