Guidance for Enhanced Pedestrian Safety: Where and How to Use RRFBs

Explore our detailed FAQ on Rectangular Rapid-Flashing Beacons (RRFBs), tailored for traffic professionals looking to improve their city’s pedestrian safety and traffic efficiency. Whether you are an engineering technologist, town engineer, traffic engineer, public works manager, or traffic signal supervisor, you’ll find actionable insights on RRFB placement and operation within your city’s various traffic contexts. 

Availed Technologies is committed to providing innovative solutions that enhance safety and efficiency across your municipality’s traffic networks, with all the products compliant to current FHWA Standards found in the 11th Edition of the MUTCD, Chapter 4L. Our FAQs are designed to equip you with the information you need to make informed decisions about RRFB installations in your jurisdiction.

RRFBs are to be used exclusively at uncontrolled marked crosswalks. These crosswalks have either pedestrian, trail crossing, or school signs. Traffic specialists, please note that RRFBs are not used at crosswalks with stop signs or traffic signals.

Yes, RRFBs are ideal at intersections where the major legs are through lanes and the minor legs are stop controlled. They are also beneficial at intersections with roundabouts, offering traffic engineers flexible solutions for enhanced pedestrian visibility and safety.

Yes, RRFBs are commonly employed at mid-block crossings, like those connecting multi-use trails, supporting traffic managers in their effort to reduce pedestrian risks in these areas.

Yes, RRFBs are used on uncontrolled marked crosswalks that are within a school zone. RRFBs in a school zone operate in the same manner as those in other locations (i.e., pedestrian-activated). School zone flashing beacons that may be used on school speed limit signs are to operate independently of the RRFBs at the school crosswalk.

No, unlike school zone flashing beacons that typically operate during pre-scheduled times, RRFBs must always be pedestrian activated. This specificity is one of the reasons why RRFBs are so effective.

RRFBs can be used along with other crosswalk enhancements, including high-visibility crosswalk markings, raised crosswalks, advance “Yield here to pedestrians” signs, yield lines, in-street pedestrian crossing signs, curb extensions, and pedestrian refuge islands.

Yes, median islands or pedestrian refuge islands are ideal for RRFBs as they provide a location to mount the lightbars in the middle of the roadway, providing excellent visibility, which transportation engineers often recommend.

Yes, FHWA’s Field Guide for Selecting Countermeasures at Uncontrolled Pedestrian Crossing Locations provides guidelines based on roadway configuration (number of lanes, with or without median), posted speed limit and AADT (annual average daily traffic). The Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) has similar guidelines in the Pedestrian Crossing Control Guide.

The numbers speak for themselves where RRFB efficacy is concerned. RRFBs have proven that they can reduce pedestrian crashes up to 47%, as well as increasing motorist yielding rates up to 98% (varies by speed limit, number of lanes, crossing distance, and time of day).*

* source:  https://highways.dot.gov/safety/proven-safety-countermeasures/rectangular-rapid-flashing-beacons-rrfb#psc-footnote

Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons (PHBs) are used on higher speed, higher volume crosswalks compared to RRFBs.  PHB locations often have 4+ lanes. RRFBs are often the chosen solution for crosswalks on roadways with 2-3 lanes (or wider roads with medians), and with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or lower. 

No, unlike a signalized intersection that has a walk don’t walk pedestrian signal – that typically has a delay – RRFBs are activated immediately once the push button is pressed.

Yes, RRFBs can be mounted in advance of the crosswalk as long as there are also RRFB units installed at the crosswalk. In other words, the advanced RRFBs must be in addition to the RRFBs at the crosswalk.  Advanced RRFBs will flash when the units at the crosswalk are activated. 

The wireless technology included in the AV-400 makes advanced RRFBs very simple to implement and use, as installers and traffic engineers alike  will appreciate. Advanced RRFBs are particularly effective in locations with reduced sight distances of RRFBs at the crosswalk.

Yes, RRFBs can be mounted on overhead mast arms at the crosswalk. Often, post-mounted RRFBs are used in conjunction with overhead mast-arm mounted RRFBs.

Yes, RRFBs provide an excellent enhancement to uncontrolled marked crosswalks at a roundabout. The flexibility of mounting RRFBs either single sided, or back-to-back directly on sign posts, particularly on the median and pedestrian refuge islands that are used at roundabouts, makes implementation straightforward.

Often crosswalks at roundabouts are essentially a series of one way roadways with RRFBs providing a vital safety signal for pedestrian crossing points. Traffic supervisors and engineers can enhance these crossings with RRFBs, taking advantage of their high visibility and instant activation to alert drivers effectively as they navigate the roundabout.

RRFBs can be used on two parallel crosswalks at an intersection where the major legs are through lanes. This provides accessibility for pedestrians and cyclists crossing the major roadway from either approach. In most cases, there are RRFBs mounted at each of the four corners of the intersection. Depending on the geometric design of the intersection there can either be single-sided or dual back-to-back light bars on each of the poles. 

Utilizing the field-adjustable dials on the AV-400, the RRFBs can be configured so that either all units at the intersection flash when any push button is activated, or the units at each of the crosswalks can operate independently of the other one.  For detailed guidance on the use of RRFBs refer to the FHWA Interim Approval 21 – Rectangular Rapid-Flashing Beacons at Crosswalks. In Canada, refer to the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Canada (MUTCDC), B7.2 Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons.

Availed Technologies stands at the forefront of pedestrian safety solutions, offering advanced RRFB products designed with city infrastructure in mind. Our commitment to quality and innovation is evident in every beacon we produce, ensuring that traffic engineers, managers, and supervisors have access to the best tools for improving pedestrian accessibility and pedestrian safety. 

If you have further questions or require personalized advice on enhancing crosswalk safety in your city, please don’t hesitate to reach out. At Availed, we’re not just about selling products; we’re about creating safer communities, one crosswalk at a time.