HAWK pedestrian beacon shows 69 percent reduction in crashes involving pedestrians.

Experience with pedestrian beacons in Tucson Arizona.

June 2012

Summary Information

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) sponsored a study to evaluate the safety effectiveness of the HAWK device.

The High-Intensity Activated Crosswalk (HAWK) pedestrian beacon assists at pedestrian crossings by stopping vehicles so that pedestrians can cross the roadway and then permits the drivers to proceed as soon as the pedestrians have passed. At a HAWK crossing, drivers receive multiple cues for the possible presence of a pedestrian, including:
  • A unique beacon configuration - two red lenses over a single yellow lens
  • High-visibility crosswalk markings, in a ladder style distinct from two transverse white lines
  • A stop bar approximately 50 ft from the crosswalk
  • Solid lane lines, 8 in. wide, between through travel lanes
  • Signs (sometimes illuminated) that read "Pedestrian Crossing" or "School Warning."

When the pedestrian activates the HAWK device, it provides a flashing red light requiring drivers to stop for pedestrians crossing the major roadway.


The study uses the Bayes method which is a before-and-after statistical approach that determines the effectiveness of a treatment from external factors, including increases in traffic volumes, and from the randomness of crashes. Before and after crash and traffic volume data were collected at 21 HAWKS sites as well as 102 unsignalized intersections that served as the control sites. Typically the data were collected 3 years before and 3 years after the installation. The number of observed crashes that occurred after the installation of a HAWK was then compared with the predicted number of crashes if the treatment had not been installed.


The researchers found the following changes in crashes after installation of the HAWK:
  • 69 percent reduction in crashes involving pedestrians.
  • 15 percent reduction in severe crashes that result in injury.
  • 29 percent reduction in total crashes.

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Safety Effectiveness of the HAWK or Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon

Author: Kay Fitzpatrick

Published By: TR NEWS

Source Date: June 2012



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Goal Areas


Typical Deployment Locations

Metropolitan Areas, Rural Areas, Statewide


None defined

Benefit ID: 2013-00848