4 Types of Traffic Intersections that You Will Come Across in Different Countries

Cities are growing faster than the roads can sustain. Thus, the inescapable condition of traffic congestion is rising day by day. Whether you are driving in a big city or a small one, you will certainly cross a busy intersection. These intersections are often stressful for drivers because of long backups, merging lanes, traffic signals, and rash drivers generally in a big hurry than others.
So why do the roads feel more jammed up nowadays at the intersections? What can be done to reduce traffic congestion? Well, these questions can only be answered while we recognize and understand different types of road intersections prevalent across the world. Here are some common types of intersections and the way they work.

1. A Four-Way Crossing

The most common type of crossing is a four-way intersection. It generally appears in a perpendicular angle in most of the cities. In a four-way crossing, you’ll find four traffic signals at the front of each lane that turn green one by one. Thus a vehicle has to wait for all the three lanes to pass before the signal turns green. As the signal turns green the vehicle is allowed to move forward (straight) and to its right, and in certain cases it can also move left even when the signal is red.

2. A Traffic Circle

A traffic circle is a roundabout usually found at the intersection of four or more roadways. Older-style traffic circles usually have traffic signals and stop signs to control the traffic. The traffic signals at these circles work in a similar fashion to those at the four-way crossing. When a signal turns green, a vehicle thus has to move around the circle to reach its destination lane. Traffic circles are generally larger than the four-way crossing and are designed in such a fashion to control the larger amount of traffic at the circles.  

3. A Modern Roundabout (Prevalent in Western Countries)

This type of intersection is prevalent in many western countries like France, Australia, United States and New Zealand. A modern roundabout accommodates more traffic as compared to intersections having traffic signals. Similar to a traffic circle, modern roundabouts have a center island but they don’t have any traffic signals. It is a form of one-way intersection control, wherein vehicles move in counterclockwise circulation around a central island. Drivers enter the traffic already in roundabout, then turn right and exit to their desired street without stopping in between. Modern roundabouts hence lead to less stopping and lower overall delay due to no halts at the intersection.

4. Uncontrolled Intersections

We primarily encounter uncontrolled intersections in rural areas and in those areas wherein, there is very low or no traffic predictions. These type of intersections do not have any stop signs or traffic signals. Thus, a driver has to slow down and apply his common sense while passing through such an intersection.

After reviewing the different types of intersections, the question still remains the same – How can we reduce traffic congestion at these most common types of intersections? And the answer to this question is ‘Smart Crossing’

Smart Crossing for smooth flow of traffic
A new patented concept called ‘Smart Crossing” is introduced by SmartUrbs to ease traffic congestion at four-way intersections. The concept is patented by the Indian Patent Office (IPO), Government of India (Patent no. 288778) and also patented in US vide (Patent No. US 10,140,860 B2). The idea behind the concept is to convert a four-way crossing into a two-way crossing without any major infrastructural development and costs.

In the existing 4-phase crossing, a vehicle has to wait for all the three sides to pass before the signal turns green. This results in elongated queues and congestion at every lane. Smart Crossing converts this conventional  4-phase traffic signal to 2 phase traffic signal, by turning the two opposite signals green at a time. It prohibits to take a right turn, resulting in a smooth flow of traffic from two opposite lanes at a time. In order to turn right from the crossing, one has to take a c-turn (which is nothing but a left turn followed by a u-turn) as shown in the diagram below.

Smart crossing leads to reduction in traffic congestion, commuter waiting time at red lights and pollution levels due to fuel emissions. In addition, it not only solves the problem of a four-way intersection but also that of the modern roundabouts and traffic circles. Despite the advantages, modern roundabouts often create yield confusion and unbalanced traffic flow. Accidents might increase due to these confusions generated while determining the entry and the exact path for each turning movement. Though smart crossing introduces traffic signals at the intersections, it also solves the problem of long waiting time at the signals and yield confusions.

Thus, it is imperative to focus on such concepts, that not only reduce traffic congestion problems but also require minimal infrastructural changes. The concept of smart crossing has also been tested and has showed some great results such as:

  • Traffic congestion reduction by upto 80%
  • Air pollution due to traffic reduced by upto 50%
  • Chances of getting green light increased by upto 50%

Want to implement SmartUrbs in your city? Get in touch with us now!

How SmartUrbs Can Ease Traffic Congestion in your City?

Traffic congestion is the biggest problem faced by almost all major cities around the world. With “drivers spending nearly 50% of their driving time in traffic jams in some cities around the world”, traffic problems are worsening day by day. To ease traffic congestion and pollution, many ways such as carpooling, smart parking, public transit etc. have been adopted across the globe. However, traffic problems still remain persistent, with its hazardous effects on health and negative effects on time. Traffic congestion is the irritating reality of modern life that requires a solution that is both practical as well as permanent.

Problem Defined

The growing traffic congestions are becoming a huge challenge for the governments worldwide, to provide pollution free environment. Private vehicle ownership is one of the reasons for traffic jams in the cities, with the ever-increasing population. In addition, inadequate infrastructure and procedures like 4-way crossing, inconvenient public transportation etc. also lead to congestion. In the existing 4-way crossing, a vehicle has to wait for all three sides to pass before the signal turns green. This results in elongated queues, congestion at every lane and high pollution levels. Moreover, the struggle of avoiding traffic and rash drivers is the major cause of frustration and stress.

Many temporary and virtuous congestion-reduction measures have been adopted worldwide. Be it population control or odd-even scheme or carpooling, one of the major causes often missed out during these measures is the 4-phase traffic crossing junction. The 4-way crossing is the most time consuming and frustrating cause of traffic jams. Over the years, there have been almost no efforts or innovation to re-design the conventional 4 phase traffic crossing junction. As mentioned above, a lot of temporary measures have been adopted till now with no signs of a permanent solution.

Introducing Smart Crossing: A smart city initiative by SmartUrbs

In order to ease traffic congestion, a patented concept called “Smart Crossing” is introduced by SmartUrbs. Smart Crossing is patented by the Indian Patent Office (IPO), Government of India. (Patent no. 288778). The initiative is undertaken to reduce traffic congestion, pollution levels and to commute waiting time at red lights.

The idea behind “Smart Crossing” is that it converts the conventional 4-way crossing to a two-phase crossing. The process prohibits to take a right turn, by turning the two opposite signals green at a time. This results in the smooth flow of traffic from two opposite lanes at a time. In order to take a right turn from crossing, one has to take a left turn, followed by a c-turn.

The essence of this concept lies in the fact that c-turns are only allowed when the signal for a c-turn is green so that you can easily take c-turn without conflicting with the prevailing traffic on that lane. Hence, if you have waited for your traffic signal to turn green after all the other three signals have turned green already, smart crossing can definitely save you time and money.


The Smart Crossing is tested and a proven solution to ease traffic congestion. A microsimulation of the concept was implemented for 16 hours at a busy 4-way crossing Kranti Marg in Delhi, India. A behavior-based multi-purpose traffic simulation software known as VISSIM was used for the evaluation to study minute of the details using high-fidelity 3D visualizations. The results of the implementation were significantly positive as:

  • Traffic congestion was reduced by upto 80%
  • Chances of getting green light increased by upto 50%
  • Air pollution due to traffic reduced by upto 50%
  • Travel time reduced by 80%

After observing the results of the simulation, it becomes even more essential to consider such initiatives that not only seem to be effective but are also practically tested and proved. This innovative idea of reducing traffic jams caused by 4-way crossing lane has definitely proven to be a visionary concept for all the other key players.  Perhaps it is the most efficient and effective way to reduce traffic congestion, as it involves very low infrastructure investment.