Attention Cities! Stop Sign Compliance Research

By Bryant Ficek

Have you ever found yourself in front of a City Council warning them about the dangers of installing unwarranted stop signs? Many traffic engineers are frequently informing our Councils and residents that unwarranted signs teach drivers bad habits of ignoring the message. Safety concerns can quickly follow when unwarranted signs are posted due to this issue.

I recently discussed this point with Cara Geheren (shout out to the City of Victoria) and she wondered what research we had to back our claims up. After a quick search and a couple calls, the best we could find about stop sign compliance and its relationship to unwarranted locations was a single study from the 80s.

Not exactly cutting edge.

So, we decided to undertake the research ourselves.

As our study is currently structured, we will review multiple stop-controlled intersections (both side-street and all-way), identify basic characteristics, and record the stopping compliance. The overall goal will be to show the difference, assuming we find a difference, between stop compliance at warranted locations versus potentially non-warranted locations. We’ll see where the numbers actually take us.

We need your help

We currently have several Cities in the Minneapolis area signed up to participate and would like to add four more. Each City will get to select three or four locations within their boundaries for our review. For a nominal fee to partially cover our field work (we will cover time for part of the field and all of the necessary engineering).

What’s in it for you?

– 48-hour turning movement counts at the selected intersections

– Rates of stop sign compliance on at least one approach of each selected intersections

– Participation in and recognition of that participation in our research and any subsequent forums where we might present the results (Traffic Corner Tuesday is a natural fit)

– First look at the final document and the ability to point to your own City numbers to hopefully back up statements about unwarranted signs

Interested? We’re looking to add four more cities to our list. Contact me directly at to learn more and add your name to our research list.