Traffic Signals


Traffic signals include traffic lights and pedestrian walk signs.


Current standards for traffic signals were adopted by Congress in in EPAct 2005 and went into effect in 2006. The standards set watt caps of 8-13 Watts for each ball (red or green) or face (e.g., walk signal) when tested at 25 degrees C. This essentially requires use of LED lights. Yellow balls can use other lighting technologies since they have very low operating hours.

California first adopted state standards for traffic signals in 2002, effective in 2003. Eight additional states (AZ, CT, MD, NJ, NY, OR, RI, WA) adopted the CA standards, though all standards but those in Maryland were preempted by the national standards before taking effect.


Because the first LEDs produced monochromatic (one color) light, traffic signals were one of the first products to use them.




Federal Date States
2008 AZ Standard Effective *
2007 WA Standard Effective *
2007 NJ Standard Effective *
2007 RI Standard Effective *
2007 OR Standard Effective *
2006 CT Standard Effective *
2006 CA Standard Effective *
1st Federal Standard Effective 2006
2005 MD Standard Effective
1st Federal Standard Adopted (Congress) 2005
EPACT Initial Federal Legislation Enacted 2005
2005 WA Standard Adopted
2005 NJ Standard Adopted
2005 AZ Standard Adopted
2005 RI Standard Adopted
2005 OR Standard Adopted
2005 NY Standard Adopted
2004 CT Standard Adopted
2004 MD Standard Adopted
2004 CA Standard Adopted
2003 CA Standard Effective
2002 CA Standard Adopted

* State standard never went into effect due to preemption by federal standard.

States not showing an effective date have an ongoing rulemaking process to determine standards.

Timeline reflects state standards from 2001 to present; federal standards from inception to present.