New Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons Increase Pedestrian Safety by Stopping Traffic
Signals Go Live on a Stretch of U.S. 441 in Orlando
Orlando, Fla. – A well-traveled area of South Orange Blossom Trail (U.S. 441) is now going to be safer for pedestrians to cross thanks to the activation of new specialized safety signals.
The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) recently finished construction on pedestrian hybrid beacons, or PHBs, between Holden Avenue and 36th Street at a cost of about $788,000.
PHBs are a special type of beacon used to help control traffic and keep pedestrians and bicyclists safe when crossing highways. Additional safety improvements included enhanced lighting to increase the visibility of pedestrians at each crossing.
Due to this area of U.S. 441 experiencing a high volume of pedestrian and vehicle traffic as well as having reported a number of pedestrian/bike-related crashes, the Department evaluated the need for pedestrian safety improvements. After analyzing the information collected, it was recommended that PHBs be installed to improve safety and help control traffic along this busy corridor.
PHBs have been proven most effective in locations where a full traffic signal is not warranted, but traditional crosswalk signage and markings are not improving conditions, which was the case with this area. Also, PHBs are shown to reduce pedestrian crashes and increase the compliance rate of drivers stopping for pedestrian. According to a Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) study published in 2010, PHBs can reduce crashes involving pedestrians by 69 percent and total crashes by 29 percent. Because the beacons stay dark until activated, they help increase the awareness of drivers to stop for pedestrians and help reduce rear-end collisions.
Central Florida motorists can expect to see more PHBs throughout the region. FDOT recently activated one in Daytona Beach on U.S 92 in front of Mainland High School and Daytona State College, and beacons are planned for construction on U.S. 17-92 in Sanford just south of Airport Boulevard.
How do PHBs work?
PHBs stay dark until activated. When a pedestrian presses the push-to-walk button, the overhead beacons will begin to flash yellow. The flashing yellow serves as a warning to motorists that the beacon has been activated and someone will be using the crosswalk.
These are then followed by solid yellow lights and then solid red lights that signal motorists to come to a complete stop.
Subsequently, pedestrians will receive a “Walk” signal followed by a flashing countdown that shows how much time is left to cross. During the flashing countdown, drivers will see red flashing lights that should be treated like a stop sign, meaning cars should stop, then proceed through the crosswalk only when it is completely clear.
Once the PHB cycle is finished, drivers will see the beacons go dark and pedestrians will have a “Don’t Walk” signal. Vehicles can then proceed with caution.
Media inquiries should be directed to the FDOT Communications Office at mailto:FDOT-D5COMM@dot.state.fl.us or by phone at 386-943-5593.
FDOT urges all drivers to stay alert and use caution while driving through or near construction zones. When driving, walking, or bicycling, remember to pay attention and follow the rules. Safety doesn’t happen by accident.