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.”