Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFBs)


Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon

Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon (RRFB) is a set of high-intensity yellow lights, mounted below a pedestrian warning sign, adjacent to a crosswalk. When a person on foot approaches the crosswalk, he or she presses an accessible button that activates multiple sets of yellow flashing lights and quickly signals to drivers that they must yield to the crossing pedestrian. RRFBs help increase the visibility of pedestrians at existing crosswalks.

Where does Arlington have RRFBs?

As a complete streets leader, Arlington installed its first two RRFBs over ten years ago to pilot this new innovative technology. In May 2020, the Federal Highway Administration recognized Arlington County for its efforts to deploy RRFBs to improve pedestrian safety. In the summer of 2020, the County completed its 17th RRFB project at Washington Blvd and N Nelson St.

A similar crossing treatment was installed at Washington Blvd & N Utah St. Arlington County collected data at this location in Fall 2018 to evaluate how the addition of the RRFB impacts driver and pedestrian interactions. Results showed that flashing lights from RRFB reduce vehicle speeds by 10 mph and driver probability to yield to crossing pedestrian increases by 35%.

Washington Blvd and N Nelson St

As part of the safety improvements at Washington Blvd and N Nelson St, a RRFB crossing was installed in summer 2020, along with other crossing and curb improvements, to create a safer environmental for pedestrian and motorists on this segment of the roadway.



How does Arlington decide where to install RRFBs?

To understand which locations work best for RRFBs, County staff conducts on-site analysis at locations, measuring:

  • Vehicle speeds
  • Vehicle yielding rates to pedestrians in the crosswalk
  • Pedestrian counts and characteristics, and
  • Pedestrian behavior (whether they activated the RRFB)

The site observations also considered factors like speed limit, number of lanes and other context-specific information.

2-Staged Crossing with RRFBs

Arlington installed its first 2-staged crossing at S Carlin Springs and 8th Rd S as part of the S Carlin Springs Safety Measures project in summer 2020. The benefits of this 2-staged crossing design reduces crossing distance, decreases pedestrian wait time and allows pedestrians to focus on traffic one direction at a time. Learn how to safely navigate a 2-staged crossing.