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Chapter 4

Point Control

A traffic control point (TCP) is a designated spot on the ground or road network--in a static garrison type environment--where Military Police control the traffic flow.

The three goals in point control of traffic are orderly movement of traffic in accordance with traffic control plans, no unnecessary traffic delays and minimum essential control methods. These goals should be accomplished with maximum use of traffic control devices, relieving MPs of this duty when possible.


Traffic control points should be used in the following situations:

  • Road network is inadequate to accommodate traffic.
  • Serious delays or congestion occur or are anticipated.
  • Traffic studies indicate a particular need for control.
  • Security of designated persons requires special control.
  • Interruptions of traffic flow are reported to Military Police.
  • A location becomes unsafe.
  • How-To

    Preparation--Military Police should receive all necessary information needed to perform their mission from supervisors, other MPs, personal observation and traffic studies.

    Safety equipment should be provided and used. Common items are reflectorized crossbelts, vests, sleevelets, flashlights, white gloves, whistles, platforms, temporary signs and traffic cones.

    Location--In selecting a site for point control of traffic, the most important consideration is be able to see all vehicles and insure they see you.

    The following factors affect MP location:

    • Design of the intersection
    • Traffic volume characteristics
    • Light and weather conditions
    • Degree of control required

    Extremely Reduced Visibility--Supervisors must consider hazards to traffic and hazards to MP safety and decide whether to leave the MP at his post, or to use alternate control methods, such as safety flares.

    Hand Signals--This is the most common method of directing traffic. Hand signals are standardized to accommodate drivers of NATO countries. Provost marshals may alter the signals to accommodate host country standards if necessary.

    Hand signals must be executed distinctly and deliberately. Poorly executed signals only confuse drivers.

    At night or during other low visibility periods, flashlights or traffic batons can be used but only if drivers commonly understand their use.

    (See Appendix C for details on hand signals.)

    Whistle--Whistles supplement visual signs in attracting a driver's attention. When used too frequently, their effectiveness declines.

    The standard whistle signals are:

    STOP--one long whistle.

    GO--two short whistles.

    ATTENTION--four or more short, sharp whistles.

    Controlling Traffic Effectively

    To control and move traffic effectively the MP must follow these guidelines:

    • Continually observe traffic for conflicts such as:
    • Backed-up traffic lanes.
    • Excessive changes in flow speed from slow to fast.
    • Vehicles blocking intersections.
    • Firmly establish personal control by performing all signals and movements with precision and by insuring drivers obey signals.
    • Give priority to the major route. All secondary road traffic moves during breaks in the major flow. If breaks do not occur, allow traffic to accumulate on secondary roads before directing it to move. Make changes in flow direction only when the intersection is clear.
    • Insure heavy vehicles have sufficient go time to build up speed and sufficient stop time to slow down and stop.
    • Allow right turns whenever they do not interfere with traffic flow and do not create danger for pedestrians.
    • Make sure opposite lanes are stopped before allowing left turns to be made. It is best to permit left turns during natural breaks in the traffic flow.
    • Communicate with MPs at other intersections and TCPs.
    • If congestion occurs, hold other lanes until it is cleared.
    • If two lanes must merge, alternate the traffic flow.
    • If exit lanes are filled, prohibit further turning movements.

    Special Situations

    Special attention must be given to TCPs at schools, hospitals, fire stations and special events.

    The actions of school children are impulsive. Pay constant attention to their actions and allow them to cross streets only when orderly. Require drivers to move slowly and cautiously.

    Sudden emergency vehicle movements are common at hospitals and fire stations. MPs on TCPs must quickly establish their presence to control traffic and prevent congestion and accidents.

    MPs must be able to provide information at special events, since drivers may be unfamiliar with actions expected of them and rely on MPs for guidance and information.

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