U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
202-366-4000


Skip to content
FacebookYouTubeTwitterFlickrLinkedIn

Safety

eSubscribe
eSubscribe Envelope

FHWA Home / Safety / Proven Safety Countermeasures / Proven Safety Countermeasures - Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons

Proven Safety Countermeasures

Printable Version [PDF, 451 KB]
(You may need the Adobe Reader to view the PDFs on this page.)

For more information about this Proven Safety Countermeasure, review the Office of Safety's Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon Guide– Recommendations and Case Study.

Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons

FHWA treskelion logo.
U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration

FHWA-SA-17-065

Icon representing a pedestrian hybrid beacon light.

Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons

Safety Benefits:

69%
Reduction in pedestrian crashes

29%
Reduction in total crashes

15%
Reduction in serious injury and fatal crashes

Pedestrians cross the roadway at a PHB location.
Source: City of Tuscon, Arizona

Source: CMF Clearinghouse, CMF IDs: 2911, 2917, 2922.

The pedestrian hybrid beacon (PHB) is a traffic control device designed to help pedestrians safely cross busy or higher-speed roadways at midblock crossings and uncontrolled intersections. The beacon head consists of two red lenses above a single yellow lens. The lenses remain "dark" until a pedestrian desiring to cross the street pushes the call button to activate the beacon. The signal then initiates a yellow to red lighting sequence consisting of steady and flashing lights that directs motorists to slow and come to a stop. The pedestrian signal then flashes a WALK display to the pedestrian. Once the pedestrian has safely crossed, the hybrid beacon again goes dark.

Example of PHBs mounted on a mast arm.
Source: FHWA

More than 75 percent of pedestrian fatalities occur at non-intersection locations, and vehicle speeds are often a major contributing factor.1 As a safety strategy to address this pedestrian crash risk, the PHB is an intermediate option between a flashing beacon and a full pedestrian signal because it assigns right of way and provides positive stop control. It also allows motorists to proceed once the pedestrian has cleared their side of the travel lane, reducing vehicle delay.

Diagram shows average risk of death at impact for a pedestrian rises as speed increases. 10 percent risk of death at 23 miles per hour, 50 percent risk of death at 42 miles per hour, and 90 percent risk of death at 58 miles per hour.
Data from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, Impact Speed and a Pedestrian's Risk of Severe Injury or Death, September 2011.

Transportation agencies should refer to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for information on the application of PHBs. In general, PHBs are typically used when gaps in traffic are not large enough or vehicle speeds are too high for pedestrians to cross safely. PHBs are not widely implemented, so agencies should consider an education and outreach effort when implementing a PHB within a community.


1 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Traffic Safety Facts – 2015 Data – Pedestrians. Report DOT HS 812 375, (Washington, DC: 2017).

For more information on this and other FHWA Proven Safety Countermeasures, please visit
https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/provencountermeasures.

Federal Highway Administration logo.
Office of Safety logo: Safe Roads for a Safer Future
Page last modified on October 18, 2017
Safe Roads for a Safer Future - Investment in roadway safety saves lives
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000