Flashing Yellow Arrow Left Turn Display

Some new traffic signals built in Grapevine now utilize a Flashing Yellow Arrow (FYA) left turn display. The new FYA display has four types of arrow indications, as described below.
yellow arrow
Steady Green Arrow – The left turn movement is “protected”, meaning that no conflicting movements are allowed. Proceed to turn with caution.

Steady Yellow Arrow

– The signal is about to change to red. Prepare to stop or prepare to complete a turn if legally within the intersection and no conflicting traffic is present.

Steady Red Arrow

– Left turn traffic must stop and wait.

Flashing Yellow Arrow

– Left turns are “permitted”, meaning that oncoming traffic has a green and left turning vehicles may proceed cautiously, after yielding to oncoming vehicles and pedestrians.

This type of display has been required by the Federal Highway Administration for use nationally for certain types of new installations since 2009, and has been included in Texas law since the end of 2011. These standards were implemented based on extensive research and consideration by national experts because the FYA left turn display has several advantages over traditional left turn displays.

Some of the key advantages of the FYA left turn display are:
  • Extensive research and field-testing have shown that the FYA display reduces motorist confusion.
    • During the time when left turns are permitted, traditional displays would show a circular green ball indication. Since green is associated with “go” in the driver’s mind, some motorists have mistaken the circular green displayed solely over the left turn lane to mean that the left turn movement is protected and can proceed without yielding to oncoming traffic. The flashing yellow arrow more intuitively conveys the concept of caution and yielding to oncoming traffic than the circular green display.
    • During the time when the left turn is protected and the adjacent thru traffic is stopped, traditional displays would simultaneously show a circular red ball and green left arrow. This presents an inherent conflict in the minds of some motorists, causing hesitation or a lack of recognition that the protected state has started.
    • The FYA displays only one indication at a time. All indications are arrows, so the display is simpler and more clearly associated with the left turn movement.
    • No special signing is required to explain the operation, as is typically the case with traditional displays.
  • The FYA display provides more options for operating the left turn movement as a leading or lagging display, and can be operated in permitted only, protected only, or a combination of protected and permitted modes as varying traffic conditions warrant. This allows for more efficient operation and reduced delays for left turners under some scenarios.
  • The new display provides the option to allow permitted left turns during situations when traffic would otherwise need to be kept stopped when using a traditional left turn display.
As the new standard for some conditions, the FYA display is now in use at numerous intersections throughout the country and is becoming increasingly common in many cities in the Dallas/Ft Worth region. By now, most drivers should have already seen this display in use at other intersections.

The deployment of FYA left turn displays is planned to occur at traffic signals throughout the City in coordination with planned upgrades of the displays or other significant rehabilitation projects.