With many drivers rushing down roads, eager to get to their appointments and destinations on time, the importance of ensuring a safe relationship between drivers and pedestrians is of highest priority. Alarmingly, pedestrians made up 14% of all traffic deaths in 2015. Sadly, those statistics remain on par with previous years’ statistics.
Traffic warning signals are used to let motorists know that they need to watch for pedestrians; walkers, bicyclists, and school children crossing the street. Sadly, not every driver heeds these warnings every time, especially when they are in a hurry or thinking about other pressures and distractions modern life brings. To prevent tragedy and increase pedestrian safety, a new traffic warning signals has been approved (MUTCD) to increase pedestrian safety; the HAWK crosswalk.
What is a HAWK Crosswalk?
Known in the traffic industry as a “hybrid pedestrian crossing” the unusual triangular design of the “hybrid beacon face” (two red LEDs on top; one amber LED below) remains dark until activated by a pedestrian. When initiated either by a push button, camera, or microwave detection, the HAWK (a.k.a. High-Intensity Activated Crosswalk) starts a specific flashing beacon sequence that controls traffic by requiring motorists to STOP. In the triangular shaped beacon head a defined pattern of flashing signals commences: flashing yellow (warning) followed by steady yellow (get ready to STOP for a red signal), followed by a solid red (STOP), followed by a wig-wag red signal (STOP and then proceed if clear). Each flashing signal time is independently programmed by the municipality depending on the street configuration and the age of the average pedestrian using the crosswalk. A pedestrian WALK/DON’T WALK signal hand confirms when it’s safe to cross. The WALK(ing) figure is only on when the beacon is steady red.
The HAWK crosswalk adds increased safety especially at higher speed or multi-lane mid-block pedestrian crossings. Another advantage with ELTEC’s HAWK system is its cost savings compared to using a standard intersection controller (RYG) and pad-mounted cabinet.
The Mikros EIC (ELTEC Intelligent Controller) with a built-in conflict monitor can be housed in a (small) pole mounted cabinet. It’s powered by either AC (grid) or DC (solar power). The ultra-efficient, low power Mikros EIC controller runs on less than two watts and each LED signal consumes only 5-watts. With every solar powered HAWK system ELTEC generates a 12-month solar sizing report. It includes the total system loads (signals), usage (approximate number of daily activations), latitude, and weather. Each system generates sufficient power to ensure it will never shut down. Installation of DC systems is less complicated and expensive; does not require an electrical contractor to be present. Each pole can be wirelessly connected by radio-no trenching or boring. All of these features make purchasing and installing ELTEC’s HAWK system a win/win for municipalities, pedestrians and motorists.