Traffic FAQs

Who do I contact to request a marked crosswalk in my neighbourhood?

Contact the Engineering Services department Traffic Section at 403-342-8366 as they review all traffic signs and pavement marking requests.

What type of traffic signal controls are used in Red Deer?

 There are several types of traffic signals, each with their own pros and cons. Red Deer intersections have a variety of controls in use:

1. Real-time central control: a central computer communicates with traffic signal controllers in the field and changes the signal timing based on actual traffic volumes. There are currently 111 signalized intersections in Red Deer that use this real-time central control.

2. SCOOT (Split Cycle Offset Optimization Technique): first implemented in Red Deer in 1987 with two major upgrades in the last six years; very common traffic system in the UK and major North American cities including Toronto and San Diego. SCOOT is a traffic adaptive system and is the most common type of signal control in Red Deer.

How SCOOT works:

  • Adjusts the green time for each direction of travel (Split)
  • Adjusts the cycle length (Cycle)
  • Adjusts the start of green relative to nearby signals in the region (Offset)

Benefits of SCOOT:

  • Detects vehicles on the road
  • Optimizes and calculates signal timings
  • Communicates the signal timings to the local controller
  • Reports back effectiveness

3. Semi-actuated: the remainder of the signals in the city are semi-actuated (35 intersections) where the traffic lights stay green for the main road and only change for pedestrians or vehicles on the side road. This provides great side road service, but traffic signals will turn red even when a large volume of vehicles are approaching the main road; this control also doesn't allow for synchronization on main roads.

If traffic signals are synchronized, why do I have to stop?

Red Deer uses real time data, technology and current methods and techniques to control and synchronize traffic lights across the city; however, synchronization is constrained by external factors, such as pedestrians, road capacity, construction and detours, etc. Synchronization can only try to minimize, but not completely eliminate stopping.

Why aren't more left turn arrows installed?

Turning arrows take time away from through traffic and add to the congestion at an intersection. If we can eliminate a turn arrow, we would be able to extend the green light for through traffic. The result should be less congestion and better synchronization for the through road. Drivers could normally make left turns during gaps in the opposing through traffic. Left turn arrows are installed where turning vehicles are consistently delayed for one or two cycles. If you notice this situation at any signalized intersection, please contact the Engineering Services department Traffic Section at 403-342-8366.

I would like to have a loading zone installed in front of my property. Who could assist me with this?

The Engineering Services department Traffic Section reviews all on-street parking and loading zone requests. Please contact 403-342-8366 for more information.

Is it possible to have a disabled parking zone in front of our house? Who would I talk to?

The Engineering Services department Traffic Section reviews all on-street parking and loading zone requests. Please contact 403-342-8366 for more information.

Why are speed limit signs not installed in back lanes/alleys?

The speed limit in back lanes/alleys is 20 km/hr as indicated in the Traffic Safety Act and The City of Red Deer Traffic Bylaw. Signs are not normally installed for these general rules. If signs have to be installed to advise motorists of the numerous rules in the Highway Traffic Act and at all locations that these rules are applicable, the sign proliferation would cause serious motorist confusion. On the other hand, if 20 km/hr speed limit signs are installed only at certain locations, some people may think that this general rule does not apply where there are no signs.

What are the school and playground zone hours of operation?

School Zones are in effect from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on school days.

Playground Zones are in effect from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day.

Why is parking only permitted on one side of a service road?

Service roads are normally only wide enough to accommodate two travel lanes and one parking lane. The side of the service road opposite to the businesses is selected to be the side where parking is allowed because more parking can be provided on this side than on the business side (the business side is broken up by many driveways), it is easier for vehicles and delivery trucks to turn in and out of the businesses if no vehicles park adjacent to their driveways and it provides better visibility for vehicles existing the business.

How are speed limits set in the city?

Motorists usually drive at a speed that they instinctively feel comfortable with based on road conditions. Studies have shown that less accidents occur on roadways where most vehicles are about the same speed. Therefore, Engineers normally determine the speed limits based on considerations of factors such as:

  • Prevailing traffic speed
  • Road geometric standards
  • Potential inferences from adjacent accesses
  • Pedestrian activity
  • Distances between traffic signal controlled intersections
  • Roadway alignment, visibility and stopping sight distance
  • Adjacent land uses
  • Traffic accident history
  • Overall city transportation plan and road classifications

Additional information on speed limits can be found under the Traffic Safety Act and the Traffic Bylaw.

I need to obtain moving/high/wide permits, as I will be transporting large items into or out of Red Deer City limits.

Contact the Engineering Services department at 403-342-8158 to obtain a permit. Permits may be subject to certain conditions such as pilot trucks, routing and time of day. The high and wide load corridor is also subject to a user charge.

What is the basis for installing a pedestrian activated signal?

Pedestrian activated signals are considered for installation when pedestrians consistently wait for more than half a minute to cross; or an accident trend occurred over a three year period can be corrected by a pedestrian signal. Under other circumstances pedestrian signals could increase accidents and delay pedestrians and motorists.

Green lights for vehicles usually last for ½ - 1 minute. This means pedestrians would be prohibited from crossing by a red "DON'T WALK" light during this ½ - 1 minute period. If pedestrians do not wait for this long to cross now, field observations show that most would disobey the "DON'T WALK" light even after they activated the pedestrian pushbutton.

The result is vehicles facing a green light would have to abruptly stop or slow down for jaywalking pedestrians. By the time vehicles face a red light, the pedestrian has already crossed and there is no one in sight. This encourages motorists to run red lights and causes accidents for the one time that a child is really crossing the road. Vehicles that abruptly stop for pedestrians during a green light display could also cause rear-end collisions. Many injuries were caused by motorists unexpectedly stopped for pedestrians and led to rear-end and pedestrian collisions.