Pedestrian Safety Guide and Countermeasure Selection System
The progression of a pedestrian hybrid beacon.
The city of Tucson, AZ developed the High intensity Activated crossWalK(HAWK) in the 1990s to assist pedestrians at numerous unsignalized locations. The HAWK Signal was renamed the “Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon” in the 2009 MUTCD. A pedestrian hybrid beacon includes the following:
The pedestrian hybrid beacon rests dark when not in use. When a pedestrian pushbutton or detector is actuated, the beacon begins with a flashing yellow light, followed by a solid yellow light, altering drivers to slow. A solid red light requires drivers to stop while pedestrians have the right-of-way to cross the street. When the pedestrian signals display a flashing DONT WALK indication, the overhead beacon flashes red, and drivers may proceed if the crosswalk is clear.
The MUTCD provides guidance on the pedestrian volume warrants, design features, and restrictions associated with the pedestrian hybrid beacon. The pedestrian volume thresholds required by the MUTCD for a pedestrian hybrid beacon are significantly lower than for a traffic signal, and this treatment may be installed at locations where traffic signals are not otherwise warranted.1
Pedestrian hybrid beacons are best suited for uncontrolled crossings of multi-lane, higher speed or volume roadways where there is a need to provide occasional pedestrian crossings without inordinate delay to motor vehicles (i.e. school crossings, intermittent neighborhood street crossings of high volume, multi-lane arterials). A 2010 FHWA study indicates that a Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon reduces total crashes by 29 percent and pedestrian crashes by 69 percent.12,13
Pedestrian hybrid beacons are typically more expensive to implement and maintain than some devices, but less expensive than full traffic signals.
Authors and Acknowledgements