Pedestrian control devices reviewed by the Oregon Department of Transportation prompt driver compliance rates up to 98 percent.

Deployed Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons and Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons were studied to improve crossing-pedestrian safety

March 2012
Portland,Oregon,United States

Summary Information

The Oregon Department of Transportation carried out a field study to compare side and overhead-mounted beacons, such as Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon (PHB), with Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFB) to see which technology fostered better pedestrian compliance.

Alternative devices to the traditional pedestrian-activated flashing beacon are cropping up all across the country. Two such devices, Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon (PHB) and the Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon (RRFB) were compared to see how each technology fostered pedestrian compliance at intersections.


A literature review of studies performed on PHB and RRFB from 2009-2010 by the Oregon Department of Transportation was completed. Driver and pedestrian behavior was observed through video analysis at selected crossings and by performing staged crossings in the Portland area. Results for PHB came from 5 test sites while 25 different RRFB sites were surveyed.

Measures used to assess the control devices included:
  • Driver compliance - percentage of drivers that yield at crossing.
  • Evasive conflict - when a driver or pedestrian needed to change course to avoid a crash.
  • Trapped pedestrian - when a pedestrian must wait because a vehicle did not yield.
  • Distance the drivers yielded in advance of the crosswalks- distance at which a driver yielded to the pedestrian.
  • Sudden stops - When a vehicle suddenly stops to avoid a pedestrian.

  • The PHB systems achieved a 98 percent mean driver compliance rate in addition to a 58 percent reduction in pedestrian crashes.
  • The RRFB systems achieved a driver compliance rate of 85 percent during the day and over 90 percent at night. Similarly, the RRFBs were shown to decrease sudden stops, decrease the number of trapped pedestrians, and reduce evasive conflicts between pedestrians and vehicles.

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Evaluation of Alternative Pedestrian Control Devices

Author: Katharine Hunter-Zaworski, P.E, Ph.D. Jon Mueller School of Civil and Construction Engineering Oregon State University

Published By: Oregon Department of Transportation Research Section 200 Hawthorne Ave. SE, Suite B-240 Salem OR 97301-5192

Source Date: March 2012



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Benefit ID: 2015-00992