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FHWA Home / Safety / Intersection / Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacon (RRFB)

Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacon (RRFB)

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May 2009
FHWA-SA-09-009




Purpose

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were a total of 14,340 pedestrian fatalities and 193,000 pedestrian injuries resulting from pedestrian vehicle crashes nationwide during the 2004-2006 period. Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacons (RRFB) can enhance safety by reducing crashes between vehicles and pedestrians at unsignalized intersections and mid-block pedestrian crossings by increasing driver awareness of potential pedestrian conflicts.

Alternative Names

Light Emitting Diode (LED) Rapid-Flash System, Stutter Flash or LED Beacons.

This summary is one in a series describing Innovative Intersection Safety Treatments. The summaries identify new technologies and techniques to improve intersection safety developed since NCHRP Report 500, Volumes 5 and 12, were published in 2003 and 2004, respectively. These treatments show promise for improving safety but comprehensive effectiveness evaluations are not yet available.

Operation

Potential Benefits

Figure 1: Activated, solar-powered RRFB on a center island at an unsignalized intersection – beacons flash using an irregular flash pattern that is similar to emergency flashers on police vehicles.
Figure 2. Activated, solar-powered, roadside RRFB at a mid-block crosswalk.
Figure 3. Combined roadside and median-mounted system of solar powered RRFBs.

Agency Experience

"An Analysis of the Effects of Stutter Flash LED Beacons to Increase Yielding to Pedestrians Using Multilane Crosswalks," along with "The Use of Stutter Flash LED Beacons to Increase Yielding to Pedestrians at Crosswalks," presented at the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting in 2008, summarized the results of two studies on the effects of RRFBs when used to supplement standard pedestrian crossing warning signs at crosswalks.1

The former found that going from a no-beacon arrangement to a two-beacon system, mounted on the supplementary warning sign on the right side of the crossing, increased yielding from 18 percent to 81 percent. There was a further increase in yielding behavior, with a four-beacon system (with two beacons on both the right and left side of the crossing) to 88 percent. "An Analysis of the Effects of Stutter Flash LED Beacons to Increase Yielding to Pedestrians Using Multilane Crosswalks" also evaluated the sites over a 1-year period, and found that there was little to no decrease in yielding behavior over time.

Implementation Considerations

Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) Specifications

Costs

Learn More

Michael Frederick, St. Petersburg Neighborhood Transportation Manager 727.893.7843 michael.frederick@stpete.org

Ed Rice, Intersection Safety Team Leader FHWA Office of Safety 202.366.9064 ed.rice@dot.gov

See Also:

http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/resources/interim_approval/ia11/stpetersburgrpt/intro.htm

http://www.stpete.org/pdf/ite_paper_07.pdf




1The two known studies of stutter flash were both conducted in Florida–one in Miami Beach and one in St. Petersburg. They are:

Sherbutt, J., R. Van Houten, and S. Turner. "An Analysis of the Effects of Stutter Flash LED Beacons to Increase Yielding to Pedestrians Using Multilane Crosswalks." Presented at the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting, Washington, DC, 2008.

Van Houten, R., R. Ellis, and E. Marmolejo. "The Use of Stutter Flash LED Beacons to Increase Yielding to Pedestrians at Crosswalks." Presented at the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting, Washington, DC, 2008.

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Page last modified on September 4, 2014.
Safe Roads for a Safer Future - Investment in roadway safety saves lives
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