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FHWA Home / Safety / Proven Safety Countermeasures / Proven Safety Countermeasures - Reduced Left-Turn Conflict Intersections

Proven Safety Countermeasures

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For more information about this Proven Safety Countermeasure, visit the Office of Safety's U-Turn-based Intersections web page.

Reduced Left-Turn Conflict Intersections

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U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration


Icon representing a reduced left turn option.

Reduced Left-Turn Conflict Intersections

Example of MUT intersection.

Source: FHWA



Reduction in injury and fatal crashes1

Reduction in intersection-related injury crash rate2

1 Edara et al., "Evaluation of J-turn Intersection Design Performance in Missouri," December 2013.

2 FHWA, Median U-Turn Intersection Informational Guide, FHWA-SA-14-069 (Washington, DC: 2014), pp. 41-42.

Reduced left-turn conflict intersections are geometric designs that alter how left-turn movements occur in order to simplify decisions and minimize the potential for related crashes. Two highly effective designs that rely on U-turns to complete certain left-turn movements are known as the restricted crossing U-turn (RCUT) and the median U-turn (MUT).

Example of an RCUT intersection
Source: FHWA

Restricted Crossing U-turn (RCUT)

The RCUT intersection modifies the direct left-turn and through movements from cross-street approaches. Minor road traffic makes a right turn followed by a U-turn at a designated location – either signalized or unsignalized – to continue in the desired direction.

The RCUT is suitable for a variety of circumstances, including along rural, high-speed, four-lane, divided highways or signalized routes. It also can be used as an alternative to signalization or constructing an interchange. RCUTs work well when consistently used along a corridor, but also can be used effectively at individual intersections.

Median U-turn (MUT)

The MUT intersection modifies direct left turns from the major approaches. Vehicles proceed through the main intersection, make a U-turn a short distance downstream, followed by a right turn at the main intersection. The U-turns can also be used for modifying the cross-street left turns.

The MUT is an excellent choice for heavily traveled intersections with moderate left-turn volumes. When implemented at multiple intersections along a corridor, the efficient two-phase signal operation of the MUT can reduce delay, improve travel times, and create more crossing opportunities for pedestrians and bicyclists.

MUT and RCUT Can Reduce Conflict Points by 50%. Diagram shows vehicle conflict points in conventional, median u-turn, and restricted crossing u-turn intersections. Conventional intersections have 16 crossing conflict points, 8 merging conflict points, and 8 diverging conflict points, resulting in 32 total conflict points. Median u-turn intersections have 4 crossing conflict points, 6 merging conflict points, and 6 diverging conflict points, resulting in 16 total conflict points. Restricted crossing u-turn intersections have 2 crossing conflict points, 6 merging conflict points, and 6 diverging conflict points, resulting in 14 total conflict points.

Source: FHWA

For more information on this and other FHWA Proven Safety Countermeasures, please visit

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Page last modified on October 17, 2017
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