RRFBs : Back from the Brink

12 23 2017
Pedestrian/RRFB/HAWK Crossings
April Spears


On December 21, 2017 the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced the termination of the Interim Approval of the Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFB) (IA-11). The FHWA prohibits the use of patented devices and learned there were several patents on the RRFB device. This was a blow to the Traffic Safety Industry as studies have proven that the RRFB was more effective than standard round beacons in driver yield rates (approx. 80%-95%).

In March, a third-party company purchased and then disclaimed all patents which had restricted federal approval of the RRFB system. The FHWA immediately issued a new interim approval IA-21 in the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devises (MUTCD) and the Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFB’s) again became authorized.

ELTEC’s RRFB is fully compliant with IA-21 and can work with either DC (solar) or AC systems. Our solar powered system is sized for each project taking into consideration the average number of crossings per day, latitude, local site conditions, and weather ensuring sufficient power during winter months.

There are a few differences that must be noted from the approval of the IA-11 and the IA-21.

The first important thing to note is that if you have an RRFB unit installed under the IA-11 approval, it may remain in use until the end of its useful serviceable life.

  • All states and local agencies must apply for new approval under IA-21.
  • Only one flash pattern is permitted, the wig-wag+simultaneous (WW+S). ELTEC has used this approved pattern in its RRFB systems since 2015.
  • Night time dimming is recommended
  • For beacon operation, R10-25 signage explaining the purpose and use of the pedestrian pushbutton detector MUST accompany the pushbuttons.
  • For accessible pedestrians, vibrotactile indications or percussive indications CAN NOT be used. A locator tone or voice message saying: “Yellow lights are flashing”, spoken twice is permitted.

If your ELTEC RRFB was purchased prior to January of 2015, a device kit is available for purchase to update the system to meet new flash requirements.

For more information you may contact sales@elteccorp.com

For FHWA FAQ: Click Here!