Despite driving through traffic lights every day, most of us don’t put too much thought into how they work. In fact, many people don’t know that there is a traffic industry in the first place. Why would they? We drive all the time, but are never exposed to the inner workings of what makes it all possible. While the enclosures that cover and protect the traffic signals’ electrical components might seem straightforward, but because it needs to perform in numerous contexts, a traffic control enclosure comes with a vast array of choices to suit any place there could be a traffic light.

The first question needing answered when considering a traffic signal control enclosure is, What are the regulations? Because traffic regulation is so important, and any technical issue could result in traffic jams and accidents, regulations can be quite specific. Different states may use different traffic control systems and can deal with disparate outdoor conditions. For example, a traffic light in Florida may not have to be very cold or snow-resistant, but one in Alaska must be both. Some areas may have additional regulations beyond the state-level. As one can imagine, the needs of an enclosure in New York City are much greater (and therefore require more regulation) than a farming town in upstate New York. Any manufacturer of traffic control enclosures must be scrupulous in their understanding of local rules and regulations.

But there’s more to a traffic control enclosure than its regulations. There are a variety of customization options that allow an enclosure to function optimally regardless of its environment. This includes how the material an enclosure is made with and how it is mounted.

Traffic control enclosures come in a variety of materials, including aluminum and several types of steel. Aluminum is a cost-effective material that functions best in environments with high heat and withstands wear well. Aluminum is also lightweight, making it ideal for  However, steel is the more common material. Galvanized steel is an excellent choice for many environments. Galvanized steel refers to steel that has a zinc-iron topcoat, which provides valuable resistance to rust and other forms of corrosion. In environments where long-term rusting and corrosion is not an issue, carbon steel is a great material option that is very durable. Stainless steel is similar to carbon steel, but has top-notch corrosion-resistance. The most commonly used material is aluminum, though stainless steel is recommended in the harshest environments.

Traffic control enclosures must function in a variety of environments, so there are a variety of mounting options beyond the enclosures you see on a concrete square (known as a pad mount). Enclosures can be mounted directly to a pole or wall, which is especially useful in situations where the area near the traffic signal is already occupied. For situations where ground area is more abundant, a walk-in traffic control enclosure can be used. Walk-in enclosures are the most technician-friendly.

While material and mounting type are the most important aspects of a traffic control enclosure, they are not nearly conclusive. There is a huge variety of accessories and upgrades that can be utilized to further match an enclosure with its environment. It’s best to work with a trusted professional team that can walk you through the process and make sure the traffic control enclosure is made with the right choices for its context. IMH here in Indianapolis offers these services. If a traffic control enclosure is what you need, contact us today to get started.