RESEARCH - Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon Effectiveness

Pedestrian CrossingThe University of Vermont Civil and Environmental Engineering faculty has published a report on the efficacy of rectangular rapid flashing pedestrian crossing beacons (RRFB) for the Vermont Agency of Transportation. The report reviews previous literature on the effectiveness of the beacons and then applied their own observational research to evaluate the effectiveness of RRFBs in small towns and rural areas.

crosswalk image with rectangular rapid flashing beacons installed

The executive summary of the document states:

Overall, we find that installing RRFBs in small and rural locations leads to compliance and safety improvements including increasing driver yielding and the rate pedestrians crossing out-of-crosswalk. They may also improve pedestrian wait times and the rate with which drivers stop suddenly. We find mixed results for driver stopping position and the rate at which pedestrians step into the roadway before drivers yield.

We also find suggestive evidence that RRFB installations are likely to be beneficial in both central and rural transition zone locations, although their effectiveness may be reduced if they diverge significantly from applicable design guidelines. Two sites that were planned as RRFBs were built as pedestrianactivated signs that use LED embedded pedestrian crossing signs instead of rectangular beacons specified for RRFBs. These two sites performed worse than the RRFB installations in our study.