HAWK (Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon)

High-Intensity Actuated Crosswalk beacon

The Need for a New Traffic Control Device

Crossing wide or busy streets away from a signalized intersection can be difficult for pedestrians and bicyclists even at marked crosswalks. Pedestrians may have a difficult time finding a safe gap in traffic, and vehicles may have a difficult time seeing a pedestrian crossing a wide street. A HAWK beacon, officially known as a pedestrian hybrid beacon in the Texas Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (TMUTCD), gives motorists and pedestrians a clear indication of when it is safe to proceed.

How It Works

The vehicular displays rest in dark mode while the pedestrian displays rest in steady don't walk. When a pedestrian wishes to cross the street, he or she presses a button. Typically with little or no wait, the vehicular displays activate showing a flashing yellow indication followed by a steady yellow indication informing drivers that a red indication is coming up next. Drivers see red indications while the pedestrian is shown the walk symbol and begins crossing the street. While the flashing don't walk symbol is displayed for pedestrians, drivers are shown flashing red indications and must come to a complete stop but may proceed after yielding to pedestrians in the crosswalk. Click here for an illustration of the sequence.

Why Not Use a Regular Traffic Signal?

HAWK beacons are a safe and efficient alternative to unwarranted traffic signals which create unnecessary delay for motorists and pedestrians. The beacons are designed to improve safety at crosswalks with minimal delay since vehicles are only required to remain stopped while pedestrians are in the crosswalk. They are less expensive to install and maintain, but may still be coordinated with adjacent traffic signals or coupled with vehicle detection systems to further minimize vehicular delay while maximizing pedestrian safety.

Where Will They Be Installed?

The following locations have HAWKs installed or under construction:
  • Main Street at University Avenue
  • 14th Street at University Avenue
  • 27th Street at Avenue Q
  • 44th Street at Avenue Q
  • Cornell Street at MLK, Jr. Blvd.
HAWKs will be installed where a need for additional traffic control is proved. The TMUTCD provides warrants that take into account vehicle and pedestrian volume as well as crosswalk distance to aid engineers in determining the need for additional traffic control. Please contact us if you have a specific location that you would like analyzed.