Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons

A (PHB), also known as a High-Intensity Activated Crosswalk (HAWK) beacon, is a device used to facilitate safe pedestrian crossings at midblock locations or uncontrolled intersections. It is designed to provide pedestrians with a protected crossing while minimizing traffic delays when there is low pedestrian activity.

How They Work

PHBs typically consist of two red lenses above a single yellow lens, mounted on a mast arm or pole located at the side of the . When activated by a pedestrian or cyclist, the beacon displays alternating flashing red lights, signaling drivers to stop and yield the right-of-way to pedestrians. After a designated period, the beacon transitions to a solid red indication, allowing pedestrians to cross safely. Once the pedestrian phase ends, the beacon turns off, and traffic resumes its normal flow.


The was developed as a solution to improve pedestrian at midblock crossings, where traditional traffic signals were not feasible due to lower pedestrian volumes. The originated in Tucson, , in the late 1990s and was further refined and standardized by the Administration (FHWA) in the early 2000s.

Example of Uses

PHBs have been successfully deployed in various urban and suburban environments across the and other countries. They are commonly installed at locations where pedestrian activity is high, but a traditional traffic signal is not warranted due to lower vehicular traffic volumes.

Examples of uses include busy pedestrian corridors, school zones, transit stops, and areas with limited sight distance or high vehicle speeds.In recent years, PHBs have gained popularity as an effective for improving pedestrian and reducing traffic conflicts, particularly in areas with mixed uses and high pedestrian demand. Their flexibility, cost-effectiveness, and ability to enhance pedestrian visibility make them a valuable to agencies' toolbox for improving pedestrian accommodations and promoting multimodal .


Last Updated on 4 months by pinc