Michigan Flashing Red Ball

Michigan uses permissive/protected phasing with flashing red ball indications. The left-turn lane has a separate three-section head consisting of a red ball, a yellow ball, and a green arrow for left-turn movements. In some cases, a yellow arrow is used in place of the yellow ball. The left-turn movements are operated in a permissive/protected (dual lagging) mode. The red ball is flashed during the permissive interval. The flashing operation has been used since about 1975. One of the earliest installations of the flashing red is believed to have been in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Tom Rathbun of the Michigan Department of Transportation (DOT) estimated that the State of Michigan operates the flashing red ball at 100 locations, mostly in urban areas. He also estimated that another 200 installations exist in Wayne and Oakland Counties. In the greater Grand Rapids area, 72 additional locations use this permissive/protected indication. The primary objective of the flashing red indication in Michigan is to increase motorists' understanding of the permissive phase (not to address the yellow trap issue).


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