Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons
An effective new pedestrian warning device, called the Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon, has become quite popular nationally. Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFBs) have been proven to be a good candidate measure to improve the safety of pedestrian and bicyclist crossing locations. Their ease of use and safety characteristics have resulted in widespread deployment by multiple agencies.
RRFBs are user-actuated amber LEDs that supplement the crosswalk markings and applicable warning signs. They use an irregular, strobe, flash pattern (similar to those found on emergency vehicles) and have been found to greatly increase vehicle yield rates at uncontrolled crossings. These bright LED flashers can be activated by a pushbutton at the trail or sidewalk. The warning signs and flasher indications are installed on each side of the roadway for approaching traffic, providing optimal visible warning.
Vehicles are required to yield to pedestrians within the crosswalk. The way the beacon system works is that when a pedestrian pushes the button, the warning lights are activated, notifying motorists of activity in the crosswalk. The pedestrian proceeds carefully into the crosswalk as vehicles yield to the crossing.
The City of Lincoln has recently installed this type of crosswalk warning device at the MoPac Trail crossing at N. 33rd Street and has plans to install more. As these active pedestrian and bicyclist safety devices continue to be evaluated, they could be considered for installation at:
- New pedestrian and bicycle crossing locations
- Existing marked and signed crosswalk locations where conditions warrant
- As a replacement for existing, full vehicle traffic signals at current crosswalk locations
Several studies and other research are available to support the use of the RRFBs, including informational links provided by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).