Effects of Yellow Rectangular Rapid-Flashing Beacons on Yielding at Multilane Uncontrolled Crosswalks

Source: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)

The rectangular rapid-flashing beacon (RRFB) device is a pedestrian-activated beacon system located at the roadside below side-mounted pedestrian crosswalk signs. This study examined the effects of the RRFB at uncontrolled marked crosswalks. Several methods have been examined to increase driver yielding to pedestrians at multilane crosswalks at uncontrolled locations with relatively high average daily traffic (ADT). Previously, only treatments that employed a red phase have consistently produced sustained high levels of yielding at high-volume multilane crosswalks.

A series of five experiments examined the efficacy of RRFBs. These studies found that RRFBs produced an increase in yielding behavior at all 22 sites located in 3 cities in the United States. Data collected over a 2-year follow-up period at 18 of these sites also documented the long-term maintenance
of yielding produced by RRFBs. A comparison of RRFBs to a traditional overhead yellow flashing beacon and a side-mounted traditional yellow flashing beacon documented higher driver yielding associated with RRFBs that was not only statistically significant, but also practically important. Data from other experiments demonstrated that mounting additional beacons on
pedestrian refuge islands, or medians, and aiming the beacons to maximize its salience at the dilemma zone increased the efficacy of the system, while two other variants were not found to influence the effectiveness of the system.

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