What is a Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon (RRFB)?

Close-up photo of a rectangular rapid flashing beacon
The rail trail crossing of Henry Bridge Road now has a RRFB.
Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFBs) are traffic control devices designed for stopping traffic at inetersections or mid-block locations so to allow pedestrians and cyclists to safely cross the road while minimizing the interruption to the flow of vehicle traffic. They are typically used at locations where additional visibility to drivers is needed, but where conditions do not warrant a full traffic light or Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon (PHB). RRFBs are used at one location of the Goffstown Rail Trail 2010 Transportation Enhancement (TE) project.

The rail trail crossing of Henry Bridge Road now has a RRFB. RRFBs are user-actuated high-intensity amber LEDs that supplement traditional crosswalk warning signage. The LEDs use an irregular flash pattern, similar to emergency flashers on many police vehicles, that elicits a greater response from drivers than traditional methods.

On the Goffstown Rail Trail, the RRFB crossing is activated via a push-button by a pedestrian or cyclist when they wish to cross the road. All RRFBs at the crossing will flash for about 20 seconds, and then go dark. There is no other crossing indication to the trail user.

How effective is a RRFB? A study found that going from a no-beacon to a two-beacon arrangement, mounted on the warning signs on the right sides of the crossing, increased yielding from 18% to 81%. There was a further increase in yielding behavior, with a four-beacon system (with two beacons on both the right and left side of the crossing) to 88%.

Video Demonstration of RRFB Operation

Thanks to Seattle Department of Transportation