Friday Transportation Seminar: Driver Comprehension of Permissive Right-Turns with a Flashing Yellow Arrow (FYA)
Friday, October 26, 2018 - 12:00pm

Friday Transportation Seminar

Friday Transportation Seminars at Portland State University have been a tradition since 2000, hosted by the Transportation Research and Education Center in partnership with the College of Urban & Public Affairs and the Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science. See all Friday Transportation Seminars here:


This research explored driver comprehension and behaviors with respect to right-turn signal displays with a focus on the Flashing Yellow Arrow (FYA) in a driving simulator and a comprehension survey. Flashing yellow arrows are used in place of other turn signals, such as solid green or flashing yellow or red circles, to indicate that drivers may turn after yielding to oncoming traffic. These turns are considered “permissive.” Turns where no conflicting traffic is present, such as those indicated with a green arrow, are “protected” turns. The flashing yellow arrow’s inclusion in the 2009 Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices sped up the signal’s adoption to indicate a permissive turn.

Results from a counter-balanced, factorial design were chosen to explore three independent variables separately: signal indication type and active display, length of the right-turn bay, and presence of pedestrians. Driver decision making and visual attention were collected and analyzed.




  • An overview of research exploring driver comprehension to various traffic signal displays for permissive right turns
  • Guidance for using FYA's at different intersection types
  • An understanding of drivers' visual attention at intersections


    Chris Monsere, Portland State University

    Dr. Christopher M. Monsere is Professor and Chair of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the Maseeh College of Engineering & Computer Science at Portland State University. Dr. Monsere's primary research interests are in design and operation of multimodal transportation facilities including user behavior, comprehension, preferences, and the overall safety effectiveness of transportation improvements. Dr Monsere is a member of ANF20, the Bicycle Transportation Committee, the past co-chair of the Transportation Research Board's Safety Data, Analysis, and Evaluation committee (ANB20) and a past member of the TRB Task Force to develop the Highway Safety Manual (ANB25T). Monsere received his BCE from the University of Detroit Mercy; his MSCE and Ph.D.with an emphasis in transportation from Iowa State University. Dr. Monsere is licensed professional engineer in the state of Oregon.

    David Hurwitz, Oregon State University

    Dr. David Hurwitz conducts research in the areas of transportation human factors, transportation safety, traffic control devices, and engineering education. In particular, Dr. Hurwitz is interested in the consideration of user behavior in the design, evaluation, and innovation of surface transportation systems. Additionally, his program contributes to advancing the state of the practice in transportation engineering education through the development of research based curricula, assessment tools, and learning theories. Dr. Hurwitz leverages the OSU Driving and Bicycling Simulator Laboratory and a significant array of traffic data collection tools to provide a more detailed understanding of how and why transportation systems perform the way they do.


    This 60-minute seminar is eligible for 1 hour of professional development credit for AICP (see our provider summary). We provide an electronic attendance certificate for other types of certification maintenance.

    Transportation Research & Education Center

    The Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC) at Portland State University is home to the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC), the Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation (IBPI), and other transportation programs. TREC produces research and tools for transportation decision makers, develops K-12 curriculum to expand the diversity and capacity of the workforce, and engages students and young professionals through education. Friday Transportation Seminars are recorded and archived on the TREC website. Click here to acccess the archive of past seminars.

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