A permissible Right Turn on Red (RTOR) was introduced in the 1970s as a fuel-saving measure and has sometimes had detrimental effects on pedestrians. While the law requires motorists to come to a full stop and yield to cross-street traffic and pedestrians prior to turning right on red, many motorists do not fully comply with the regulations, especially at intersections with wide turning radii. Motorists are so intent on looking for traffic approaching on their left that they may not be alert to pedestrians approaching on their right. In addition, motorists usually pull up into the crosswalk to wait for a gap in traffic, blocking pedestrian crossing movements. In some instances, motorists simply do not come to a full stop.
One concern that comes up when RTOR is prohibited is that this may lead
to higher right-turn-on-green conflicts when there are concurrent signals.
The use of the leading pedestrian interval (LPI) can usually best address
this issue (see Pedestrian Signal
Timing). Where pedestrian volumes are
very high, exclusive pedestrian signals should be considered.
Prohibiting RTOR should be considered where and/or when there are high pedestrian volumes. This can be done with a simple sign posting, although there are some options that are more effective than a standard sign. For example, one option is a larger 762-mm by 914-mm (30-in by 36-in) NO TURN ON RED sign, which is more conspicuous. For areas where a right-turn-on-red restriction is needed during certain times, time-of-day restrictions may be appropriate. A variable-message NO TURN ON RED sign is also an option.6