Category Archives: Pedestrian and RRFB

Pedestrian and RRFB Category for Eltec

ELTEC and 511 Technologies Announces IoTraffic Systems

ELTEC and 511 Technologies announce strategic partnership to create internet connected traffic systems

 

Special to the news messenger

Thursday, ELTEC and 511 Technologies announced a strategic partnership to provide advanced cloud-connected products for the traffic and warning system industries.

The companies will collaborate to deliver an entire line of new IoTrafficTM products with a wide range of radio communication options that provide connectivity to the Internet as well as from sign-to-sign or “Machine to Machine” (or M2M).

IoTraffic products can be controlled or monitored via computers and mobile devices such as smartphones. The first product released under the IoTraffic partnership is the IoTraffic LED sign. The IoTraffic LED sign boosts visibility to save lives by improving intersection safety. End users can reduce unnecessary field visits by using IoTraffic connectivity to remotely make changes to products or monitor operation. IoTraffic products can also be configured to send various types of automated alerts.

“By partnering with 511 Technologies, ELTEC will provide our customers with the most advanced Internet-connected products available to meet the future needs of the traffic and warning system industries. We are excited to offer our ELTEC customers with the latest cloud based products” said April Spears, President and CEO, ELTEC. “Combining ELTEC’s industry experience and history of quality traffic devices with the advanced internet product engineering capabilities of 511 Technologies and its affiliate System Level Solutions (“SLS”) is the perfect plan to innovate products beyond the current marketplace capabilities.”

511 Technologies and SLS are known for their engineering, product development and intellectual property expertise, and have made the Internet of Things (“IoT”) a strategic focus of their operations.

“511 Technologies and SLS were seeking a strategic partner known for quality products and nationwide distribution, and we found an ideal partner in ELTEC,” said Alan Loudermilk, President of 511 Technologies and Vice President Business Development of SLS. “The IoTraffic strategic partnership with ELTEC demonstrates that we can deliver globally competitive, Internet-connected products right here in Marshall,” he added.

Paresh Patel, President of SLS agreed.

“We are extremely excited about combining ELTEC’s end-system expertise and distribution channel with the engineering and product development skills of SLS and 511 Technologies,” Patel said.

ELTEC is a world class provider of engineered traffic systems and solar powered solutions with an emphasis on programmable timing products and pedestrian safety.

ELTEC is sought out for exceptional quality, delivery, service, and customer support.

For almost 50 years ELTEC has been a premier manufacturer of time clocks/time switches used primarily in school zone flashing beacon systems. ELTEC is the preferred traffic industry supplier of warning systems and products for many municipalities, state Departments of Transportation and local contractors. For additional information on ELTEC, visit elteccorp.com.

511 Technologies provides product and business development services, with an emphasis on innovative technologies and business incubation. System Level Solutions provides engineering and product development services to companies throughout the world, and is now a leading product developer and manufacturer with a particular focus on hardware and software for lighting and energy management and also cloud messaging and control solutions.

“TIGERS” Made Safer with HAWK Crosswalk

Frenship High School in Wolfforth, TX installed a solar powered HAWK/hybrid pedestrian crosswalk. Early one morning before dawn a student using the un-signalized crosswalk from the parking lot across from the school was struck and killed by a truck. The school principle, city manager, and other city officials along with the local TxDOT district worked together to find a solution.

Since the pedestrian crossing is on a 5-lane (including a turn lane) state road (45 MPH), TxDOT determined a Hybrid Pedestrian Crosswalk to control traffic was the best solution, and was responsible for the installation. After weighing several factors, solar power was determined to be the best option to operate the system using a DC controller (Mikros EIC). The cost was considerably less by not using the electrical service or running traffic signal cable, and other combined factors saved approximately 2–3 weeks of construction time. The solar sizing report determined that two hybrid beacons faces (6 LEDs total) plus a pedestrian head and the DC controller with a built-in conflict monitor would be fully supported with one 140-watt solar panel and two 110 amp-hour batteries.

Wolfforth officials implemented a community educational campaign using local media outlets that a new crosswalk had been added and to inform motorists how to interpret the signals. Additionally, the principal initiated training with the students: teaching them how the system worked and how to use it correctly. During designated school periods and high traffic times, a Resource Officer is assigned to monitor the students to safeguard that they aren’t “trying to beat the pedestrian countdown timer.” The Resource Officer also ensures drivers are obeying the signals as well.

The public response has been “great.” There’s an understanding that vehicles and pedestrians both share the highway, and that pedestrians have the right-of-way when the lights are activated. The school principle adds “the students certainly appreciate the added safety feature, and have been trained very well to activate the system and wait. Sometimes teenagers are looked at as not listening, but when it comes to safety they are taking the proper steps.”

New RRFB WW+S Flash Pattern (IMSA Jan/Feb ’15)

By Susan Marshall Electrotechnics Corporation (ELTEC)

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On July 25, 2014 the FHWA approved a “new and improved” flash pattern for RRFB (Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons) uncon-trolled pedestrian crossings. The new flash pattern is based on a flash cycle length of 800 milliseconds (ms) equaling 75 flash cycles per minute. It’s referenced as “WW+S” (Wig-Wag plus Simultaneous). The sequence is:

  • Left beacon ON 50 ms Both beacons OFF 50 ms
  • Right beacon ON 50 ms Both beacons OFF 50 ms
  • Left beacon ON 50 ms Both beacons OFF 50 ms
  • Right beacon ON 50 ms Both beacons OFF 50 ms
  • Both beacons ON 50 ms Both beacons OFF 50 ms
  • Both beacons ON 50 ms Both beacons OFF 250 ms

The interpretation was issued after the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) tested several flash patterns for their effectiveness. Two patterns were found to be equally effective, but to keep some “uniformity” the “simpler” WW+S flash sequence was approved. Additionally, the WW+S was chosen “because it has a greater percentage of dark time when both beacons of the RRFB are off and because the beacons are on for less total time.”

The FHWA continued “The greater percentage of dark time is important because this will make it easier for drivers to read the sign and to see the waiting pedestrian, especially under nighttime conditions.”

Any newly installed RRFB pedestrian crossings may use either the currently approved flash pattern (2/4-1) or the WW+S. Existing RRFB systems may continue to use the installed flash pattern, or can be converted to the WW+S flash pattern.

For more information on the published TTI study go to: TTI Website. Clarification of interpretations can be found here at MUTCD link.

Walkable, Bike-able Summit

Toby Whitmore, Technical Sales Representative for Signal Service

Toby Whitmore, Technical Sales Representative for Signal Service

On May 7th, Signal Service based in West Chester, PA participated in Delaware’s “Walkable, Bike-able Summit”.  Pedestrian safety (walking and/or bicycling) was a primary focus.  Signal Service displayed the extremely effective Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon (RRFB) pedestrian crossing for uncontrolled crosswalks.

According to Toby Whitmore, Technical Sales Representative for Signal Service, “it was a big hit.  We got lots of questions from the DOT and bike advocacy groups.”

RRFB Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons installed in Mission KS

Long Construction Project Comes to an End

RRFB Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons installed in Mission KS

Mission’s Johnson Drive opens all four lanes of traffic as long construction project comes to an end.

ELTEC Corp has added safety measures to Mission, KS Johnson Drive. By installing Eltec’s  RRFB (Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons) crosswalk safety features the four lane highway will notify drivers of potential pedestrians crossing. The RRFB is a rectangular shaped, high intensity signal head, which flashes in a wig-wag, rapid flickering pattern. The alternating signals provide direct, ultra-bright concentration as well as wide-angle intensity. The beacons are pedestrian activated: push button or passive detection (several options available).

It’s open again. Johnson Drive through downtown Mission was back to four lanes of traffic this morning and most of the construction cones have disappeared.

With the temperature hovering below 20 degrees this morning, only the marching band was missing from the city’s barricade breaking celebration. The speeches were brief and the coffee plentiful as dozens gathered to mark the official end of construction and the opening of all four lanes of Johnson Drive to traffic for the first time since early March. The impact of construction really started in the summer of 2013 when utilities were being replaced under the street, a project that lasted until December. Storm sewers were replaced as part of the road construction this year. Traffic often was blocked on the side streets and even Johnson Drive was closed in places during the construction. Traffic flow was cut to two lanes all summer.

To read more about Mission’s Johnson Drive construction project click here.

To learn more about the safety features that we can provide to your town please contact us or fill out a product request form. For almost 50 years ELTEC been a world-class manufacturer of time clocks/time switches used primarily in school zone flashing beacon systems. ELTEC is the preferred traffic industry supplier of warning systems and products for many municipalities, state Departments of Transportation and local contractors.

RRFB New Flash Pattern

U.S.Department
of Transportation
Federal Highway
Administration

JUl 2 5 2014

1200 New Jersey Ave., SE Washington, D.C. 20590
In Reply Refer To: HOT0-1

Mr. Bill Marshall
President
Electrotechnics Corporation
1310 Commerce Street
Marshall, Texas 75672

Dear Mr. Marshall:

Thank you for your e-mail message of July 9 requesting an official interpretation as to whether the simpler flash patterns for rectangular rapid flashing beacons (RRFBs) that recently were successfully tested could be made available for use.

You were prompted to request this official interpretation by the announcement that we placed in a “yellow box” at the top of the home page of the MUTCD web site on June 20, 2014. This announcement stated the following:
Federally-funded research was conducted by the Texas Transportation Institute (TTl) regarding the effectiveness of various flash patterns for RRFBs. The initial experimentation with RR.FBs that led to the eventual interim approval for this device only tested one relatively complex flash pattern. Before proposing to add this new device to the MUTCD, the FHWA was interested in finding out if a simpler flash pattern that included more dark time would be equally or more effective at getting motorists to stop for pedestrians at uncontrolled crossings. The TTl research showed that two different simpler flash patterns were just as effective as the currently-approved pattern. An overview of the study and an executive summary that provides the detailed results are available on the TTl web site.
The overview of the study, which was funded by the FHWA and published by TTl, can be accessed at http://tti.tamu. edu/2014/06/18/new-rapid-flash-beacon/ and the executive summary concerning this federally-funded research can be accessed at http://d2dtl5nnlpfr0r.cloudfront.net/tti.tamu.edu/documents/TTI-2014-5.pdf.

Because of a desire to achieve uniformity, the FHWA is not interested in approving both of the additional RRFB flash patterns for eventual use, even though both were found to be equally as effective as the RRFB flash pattern that is currently specified in the Interim Approval 11 memorandum and clarified in Interpretations 4(09)-21 and 4(09)-22, all of which can be accessed at http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/res-interim approvals.htrn.

The two additional RRFB flash patterns are called “Blocks” and “WW+S” in the research study. After comparing the two additional flash patterns, the FHWA favors the WW+S (wig-wag plus simultaneous) flash pattern because it has a greater percentage of dark time when both beacons
of the RR.FB are off and because the beacons are on for less total time. The greater percentage of dark time is important because this will make it easier for drivers to read the sign and to see the waiting pedestrian, especially under nighttime conditions. The less total on time will make the RRFB more energy efficient, which is important since they are usually powered by solar energy.

The WW+S flash pattern is based on a flash cycle length of 800 milliseconds, which results in 75 flash cycles per minute. The 800-millisecond flash cycle shall have the following sequence:

The left side beacon is on for 50 milliseconds
Both beacons are off for 50 milliseconds

The right side beacon is on for 50 milliseconds
Both beacons are off for 50 milliseconds

The left side beacon is on for 50 milliseconds
Both beacons are off for 50 milliseconds

The right side beacon is on for 50 milliseconds
Both beacons are off for 50 milliseconds

Both beacons are on for 50 milliseconds·
Both beacons are off for 50 milliseconds

Both beacons are on for 50 milliseconds
Both beacons are off for 250 milliseconds

It is the FHWA’s official interpretation that any new RRFBs that are installed under the terms of Interim Approval 11 may use either the currently-approved flash pattern or the WW+S flash pattern. Existing RRFBs may continue to use the currently-approved flash pattern or may be converted to the WW+S flash pattern.

For recordkeeping purposes, we have assigned the following official ruling number and title: “4(09)-41 (I)- Additional Flash Pattern for RRFBs.” Please refer to this number and title in any future correspondence regarding this topic.

Thank you for your interest in improving the clarity of the provisions contained in the MUTCD.

Sincerely yours,

Mark R. Kehrli
Director, Office of Transportation
Operations

Municipal Magazine Pedestrian Safety Feb ’14

New pedestrian, bike safety devices

By PHOEBE MUTHART | The Municipal
Download Article Here

Pedestrians who are crossing busy streets are often busy doing something else: listening to music, texting or talking on a phone. Those distracted walkers often fail to look both ways for traffic or follow other safety rules.

A study conducted during the summer in Seattle, Wash., may be the largest one yet to look at real-world pedestrians in this age of distraction. It found that more than 26 percent of the 1,000-plus walkers were using electronic devices as they navigated intersections where pedestrians had been hit in the past.

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Louisville, Ky., installed a color pavement marking system on a number of bike lanes. (Photo courtesy of Transpo Industries)

Texters were nearly four times less likely than other pedestrians to follow safety rules, including looking both ways, staying in the cross-walk and obeying signals; and both texters and talkers took extra time to cross the street. Music-listeners walked faster but often failed to look for cars, according to researchers from the University of Wash-ington and Seattle Children’s Hospital.

The findings could help explain why pedestrian deaths are increas-ing nationwide even as other traffic-related deaths hit historic lows.

Walkers who text, just like drivers who text, may be most at risk, according to one of the researchers, Beth Ebel.

“Texting is pulling you out of where you are and putting your mind somewhere else. You’re on autopilot and that puts you on risk,” Ebel said.

During the study observed pedestrian behavior was generally in line with that collected by other researchers, including some who test pedestrian behavior in lab simulations.

“We are finding very clearly that it’s dangerous to be distracted when you cross the street,” said David Schwebel, a professor of psychology who runs a pedestrian behavior lab at the University of Alabama in Birmingham.

In some of Schwebel’s experiments, people listening to music were more likely to be hit by virtual cars than those who were texting. He speculated that hearing cars may be at least as important as seeing them.

But Schwebel added that scientists also looked at talking on the phone, browsing the Internet, listening to music and talking to some-one next to you: All increased the risk for pedestrian injury.

Unpublished data from emergency room records shows injuries among pedestrians using cellphones increased steadily from 2005 to 2010, said Jack Nasar, a researcher at Ohio State University.

Some communities have considered fining distracted walkers. Schwebel said it may take that to change behavior.

Nasar favors taking steps such as posting “Put down your cellphone” signs at crosswalks and educating the public. “Parents should tell their children to put down their cellphones while walking,” he said.

RIGHT: Passive detection devices are a trend in pedestrian crossings designed to address the increased lack of attention that pedes-trians pay to nearby traffic. (Photo courtesy of Electrotechnics Corp.)

Passive detection devices are a trend in pedestrian crossings designed to address the increased lack of attention that pedes-trians pay to nearby traffic. (Photo courtesy of Electrotechnics Corp.)

This pedestrian verification signal is acti-vated by a push button. (Photo courtesy of Electrotechnics Corp.)

This pedestrian verification signal is acti-vated by a push button. (Photo courtesy of Electrotechnics Corp.)

Today’s technology provides additional solutions to the problem. New pedestrian crossing instruments include rectangular rapid flashing beacons, which have resulted in over 80 percent compliance. In some areas that level of compliance reached 98 percent, according to a study conducted by Electrotechnics Corp. of Marshall, Texas.

St. Petersburg, Fla., was one of the first cities to try the new approach. A study conducted at a crosswalk in St. Petersburg reported an injury rate of 49 people per 100,000 people before RRFB was installed. After, motorists’ compliance increased to an average of 82 percent.

“New RRFB technology is an affordable solution for rapidly increas-ing pedestrian safety and stimulating motorist compliance,” said Electrotechnics Corp. President Bill Marshall.

Certainly, RRFB are attention getters. The use of an optional indica-tor for pedestrians allows the pedestrian to see that the beacons are operating. Typical cost of material for a solar-powered operating. Typical cost of material for a solar-powered RRFB system consisting of two poles and signs is under $10,000.

“Texters and talkers took extra time to cross the street. Music-listeners walked faster but often failed to look for cars”

Color pavement marking is another effective bicycle and pedes-trian safety initiative. It can also be used for bus lanes, stops and other specifically designated areas.

“Color pavement marking increases safety by minimizing conflict between different road users. By making these special use lanes or areas — such as bicycle paths, crosswalks, pedestrian plazas and bus lanes — clearly marked with durable, highly visible color, the lanes are safer,” said Karen Dinitz, marketing and com-munications director for Transpo Indus-tries Inc. Materials for high friction surfacing and bridge overlays both increase preservation and sustainability as well as safety. Paint and other materials fade or delaminate, requiring regular maintenance. Long-lasting color makes maintaining safety features easier. Transpo also offers light pole and sign post breakaway sup-ports that are the standard for roadside safety.