Signs, Signals, & Markings

Traffic control devices come in various colors, shapes and sizes and they reflect various messages and information. All traffic signs, signals and markings play an important role in assisting motorists and pedestrians complete their daily travels safely and conveniently.

Traffic Responsibilities

The Department of Public Works and Transportation's (DPW&T) Division of Traffic is responsible for the installation, maintenance and replacement of all traffic control devices on County roadways. These traffic control devices include signs, signals and pavement markings. Their presence and good operating condition are vital to assure traffic safety.

Traffic control devices range from the red-yellow-green traffic signals used at intersections of heavily traveled roads, to the familiar octagonal red and white "stop" signs, yellow warning signs, and so on. Speed limit designation signs are another important traffic control device. They serve a regulatory function by displaying legally permissible speeds on each given segment of roadway.

Other, perhaps less familiar, types of traffic control signs serve informational purposes or serve to caution motorists to be aware of certain situations. Some examples include street name signs, "school crossing" signs, signs indicating a curve in the road ahead, and signs advising that a roadway is slippery when wet.

Installing Stop Signs

In order to provide a sound basis for engineering judgment with respect to the need for installing stop signs on all approaches of the roadway, the Department conforms to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). This manual, prepared by a national joint committee of municipal, county, and state officials, contains the following conditions or warrants, which should be present before a traffic control device, such as a multi-way stop control, is warranted:

  • As an interim measure where a traffic control signal is warranted and urgently needed;
  • There is evidence of a traffic accident problem indicated by the occurrence of 5 or more reported accidents of a type susceptible to correction by the installation of a multi-way stop within a 12-month period; or
  • A significant and evenly distributed volume of vehicular and/or pedestrian traffic is present at the intersection.

It should be noted that "STOP" signs are used to assign right-of-way and are not intended for use to slow down speeders. Installing stop signs at an unwarranted location can create a false sense of security for the pedestrians and drivers, whereas a disaster may be eminent resulting from a high number of stop sign violations at that location.

Unwarranted signs can also increase the potential of rear-end type accidents. By adhering to the nationally adopted guidelines, we make sure that the stop signs throughout the County are meaningful and necessary, and not just a sense of false security.

Contact Division of Traffic



9400 Peppercorn Place
Suite 300
Largo, MD 20774