A RRFB in Davis California. Photo by Lara Justine
A RRFB in Davis California. Photo by Lara Justine

Pima County installed a new type of crossing signal that is significantly cheaper than a HAWK crossing signal, but acts as more of warning to drivers letting them know a pedestrian may be present.

The Rapid Rectangular Flashing Beacon or RRFB was installed along the Arizona Trail at Marsh Station Trail in Vail, Ariz., southeast of Tucson.

Like a HAWK signal, a user activates the signal alerting motorists to the presence of someone crossing. Unlike a HAWK it does not have stop lights and is powered by solar panels.

Matt Zoll the county’s bicycle and pedestrian manager said the location of sign made sense because a HAWK would have been “overkill” for the trail crossing and they would have had to bring electricity out to the road.

Zoll said the RRFB cost about $20,000 compared to the $150,000 a HAWK signal costs.

He said these types of signals wont work at every crossing, but the county is looking into other locations where they make sense.

4 thoughts on “County tests cheaper alternative to HAWK crossing signal”
  1. I stopped for a pedestrian today (I was in a car). The pedestrian was waiting at a marked crosswalk on 6th St, and had the right of way.

    4 or 5 cars drove past me in the righthand lane, not stopping for the person on foot.

    I wish TPD would ticket this sort of infraction. Pedestrians have the right of way, but it doesn’t matter if the law isn’t enforced.

  2. How did we end up in this society where traffic engineers continue to signal (pun intended) that non-driving lives don’t matter? Slow the cars. Enforce already existing laws that protect (or are supposed to protect) non-drivers. Build SAFE infrastructure with PHYSICAL barriers between drivers and non-drivers.

  3. @ignorant drivers It is a sad, sad thing that without a HAWK signal, pedestrians cannot cross safely. Where are those TPD officers with that pedestrian crossing enforcement grant money we heard about earlier this year? I have NOT seen a single one. What you experienced is unfortunately the norm around here and not the exception.

  4. @katalinscherer I am beginning to think that engineering is actually one of the biggest problems in our society. We design for obsolescence. We design for failure after too few years. 
    As an example, look at the WPA-imprinted sidewalks near the UA. Built in 1937, still in great shape. The sidewalks we’re building currently are crumbling into gravel. What did those hobos in the 1930s know that we have forgotten? Probably, the answer is that the sidewalks are 10c cheaper per mile now, but they last 40 fewer years. I blame engineers for this. 
    “Value engineering” is a misnomer. 
    “Traffic engineering” is a joke.

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