Safety Effectiveness of the HAWK Pedestrian Crossing Treatment

Source: Federal Highway Administration

The High intensity Activated crossWalK (HAWK) is a pedestrian-activated beacon located on the roadside and on mast arms over major approaches to an intersection. It was created in Tucson, AZ, and at the time of this study, it was used at more than 60 locations throughout the city. The HAWK head consists of two red lenses over a single yellow lens. It displays a red indication to drivers when activated, which creates a gap for pedestrians to use to cross a major roadway. A before-after study of the safety performance of the HAWK was conducted. The evaluations used an empirical Bayes (EB) method to compare the crash prediction for the after period if the treatment had not been applied to the observed crash frequency for the after period with the treatment installed.

To develop the datasets used in this evaluation, crashes were counted if they occurred within the study period, typically 3 years before the HAWKinstallation and 3 years after the HAWK installation or up to the limit of the available crash data for the after period. Two crash datasets were created. The first dataset included intersecting street name (ISN) crashes, which were all crashes with the same intersecting street names that matched the intersections used in the study. The second dataset included intersection-related (IR) crashes, which were only those ISN crashes that had "yes" for the intersection-related code. The crash types that were examined included total, severe, and pedestrian crashes. From the evaluation that considered data for 21 HAWK sites (treatment sites) and 102 unsignalized intersections (reference group), the following changes in crashes were found after the HAWK was installed: a 29 percent reduction in total crashes (statistically significant), a 15 percent reduction in severe crashes (not statistically significant), and a 69 percent reduction in pedestrian crashes (statistically significant).

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