Leading Left Turn Arrows

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When it comes to traffic signals, you have probably noticed that Gilbert has been “lagging” behind in parts of town. But starting the week of August 28, Gilbert’s Traffic Engineering Division will be transitioning all left turn arrows from lagging to leading in order to be more consistent with neighboring communities and improve Gilbert’s traffic operations efficiency. These traffic signal changes will be implemented in six phases over the following four to six weeks, as indicated on the map below.

Phase 6 of the leading left turn arrow transition is scheduled to start on Tuesday, September 26th. The following intersections along or near Higley Road will be changed to leading left turn arrows:

  • Higley Rd / Inverness Ave              
  • Higley Rd / Banner Gateway Dr
  • Higley Rd / Houston Ave 
  • Higley Rd / Guadalupe Rd
  • Guadalupe Rd / Roadrunner Dr
  • Guadalupe Rd / Pheasant Dr
  • Recker Rd / Guadalupe Rd
  • Recker Rd / Elliot Rd
  • Higley Rd / Elliot Rd
  • Higley Rd / Warner Rd
  • Higley Rd / Agritopia Loop N
  • Higley Rd / Ray Rd
  • Ray Rd / Gateway Plaza
  • Ray Rd Agritopia Loop S
  • Higley Rd / Galveston St
  • Higley Rd / Williams Field Rd
  • Williams Field Rd / Recker Rd
  • Higley Rd / Frye Rd
  • Higley Rd / Pecos Rd
  • Pecos Rd / Los Gatos Ln
  • Pecos Rd / Ranch House Pkwy
  • Higley Rd / Willis Rd
  • Germann Rd / Ranch House Pkwy
  • Higley Rd / Germann Rd
  • Higley Rd / Arrowhead Trail
  • Queen Creek Rd / Ranch House Pkwy
  • Higley Rd / Queen Creek Rd 

Click here to enlarge map.

Lagging to Leading Arrow Phasing Map

What does this mean? Instead of the left turn arrow appearing after the green light when through traffic ends, it will now appear before or with the through traffic green light. Converting to leading left turn arrows across the community will reduce driver confusion, improve traffic efficiency and will be consistent with Mesa, Chandler and Queen Creek.

We ask that drivers use caution and keep their speed down, eyes up and drive safely as we make this transition. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for weekly updates on the changes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is lagging and leading left turn arrow?
Lagging left turn arrow:
The left turn arrow appears after the green light for through traffic.
Leading left turn arrow:
The left turn arrow appears either before or with the through traffic green light.

Why is Gilbert changing from lagging left turn arrows to leading left turn arrows?
We’re transitioning to leading left turn arrows to be more consistent with traffic operations in the region and to improve efficiency.

What do we mean when we say consistent?
Our neighboring cities have mostly leading left turn arrows at their traffic signals, and Gilbert currently has a mix of lagging left turn and leading left turn arrows at traffic signals. This can confuse drivers as they are traveling in and between the different communities.

How will it improve efficiency?
The traffic in Gilbert is directional. A majority of the residents in Gilbert travel northbound/westbound in the morning to work and southbound/eastbound in the afternoon to go home. With the current lagging left turn arrow configuration, the green time for the approaching and opposing left turn is equal, which is not efficient since the traffic demand is directional. With leading left turn, the green time for the left turn movements will be adjusted based on traffic demand resulting in improved traffic signal operations.

I am used to lagging left-turn arrow, what if I don’t like this change?
We understand that a change is always difficult initially but we request your support and patience in making these traffic signal changes. The lagging to leading left turn arrow conversion will reduce driver confusion, improve efficiency and will be consistent with our neighboring communities, making travel easier for drivers.

How long will you take to convert all the Town traffic signals from a lagging to leading operation?
Gilbert will implement the lagging to leading left turn arrow conversion in phases. Phase 1 will include the traffic signals south of Queen Creek Road and will start the week of August 28. We anticipate 4 to 6 weeks to complete the conversion. We will keep citizens updated and post the schedule as each phase is implemented. We encourage you to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates.

I have heard that lagging left hand turns are safer than leading left hand turns. Is this true?
We’ve heard that too. Gilbert’s Traffic Engineering Division did an extensive review of the topic and has not found definitive information to support that position. We recently converted the intersection of Chandler Heights and Higley Roads to leading left turn arrow operations after receiving a large volume of complaints about safety concerns due to crashes at that intersection. With the change to leading left turn, we have found that the left turn crashes have dropped significantly. It is too soon to make any statistical inferences from this case but in this situation, it seems that leading is safer than lagging. We will continue to pay attention to the signalized intersections throughout Gilbert and work to keep them as safe as possible for our residents.

Have more questions?
Please contact Gilbert’s Traffic Engineering Division at 480.503.6739.