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  1. Pedestrian Crosswalk Warning Light Systems | GOOD, BETTER, BEST

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    In 2015, 5,376 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in the United States. This averages to one crash-related pedestrian death every 1.6 hours.1  In March, 2017 a report released by the Governors Highway Safety Association shows that the number of pedestrians killed in traffic jumped 11 percent in 2016, to nearly 6,000—the biggest single-year increase in pedestrian fatalities ever, and the highest number in more than two decades. Forward thinking cities and municipalities with a Vision Zero strategy of achieving zero pedestrian deaths are installing lighted crosswalks to help make public crossings safer environments for pedestrians.

    When Designing a Lighted Crosswalk, The Goal is to Save Lives with The Most Effective Solution

    When it comes to achieving pedestrian safety with lighted crosswalks, each situation is different and requires a unique solution. For example: 2-Lane school zone crosswalks in residential neighborhoods; 4-Lane un-controlled intersections on busy city thoroughfares; multi-level shopping mall parking structures with interior walkways; city park trails that traverse several roads; public venues with multi-point parking lot entrances—just to name a few situations. Understanding that each pedestrian crossings requires a specific design that takes into account all of its needs is important. Ideally the effectiveness of the system, and not its costs will determine which system is selected.

    Speeds Affect Crosswalk Visibility

    According to the NHTSA, “…more than 75 percent of pedestrian fatalities occur at non-intersection locations, and vehicle speeds are often a major contributing factor.”1  The motorists’ field of vision is different at different speeds. The faster the speed, the more targeted the field of vision.2

    Field of Vision at Different Speeds

    As a driver’s speed increases, their peripheral vision narrows severely. [Graphic via LADOT Vision Zero Report]

    GOOD: RRFB

    Solar Wireless RRFB UnitRFFBs are installed at both ends of the crosswalk underneath pedestrian signs. The RRFB’s amber lights flash in a ‘wig-wag,’ ‘one-two,’ strobe-like pattern that catches motorists’ attention, alerting them to crosswalk activity. RRFBs perform best on roadways with ≤4-Lanes, in speed zones ≤20 mph—at speeds that offer the greatest field of vision to motorists—and in areas where motorist familiarity with the crosswalk location is high. With a lower cost, the RRFB is an attractive entry-level safety option. However, RRFBs are a newer MUTCD traffic control device and some motorist confusion3 has been reported.

    BETTER: Flashing LED Sign Systems

    For crosswalks with ≥2-Lanes, in ≥20 mph speed zones, and where commuter or highway cross-traffic exists (i.e., out-of-towners), flashing LED warning signs are an ideal solution. LED signs simply and elegantly communicate the message that a pedestrian is inside the crosswalk by reinforcing existing traffic warning measures. They are non-intrusive, as signs must already be used at crosswalks. LightGuard’s flashing MUTCD signs contain 8 ultra-bright LED light bars, greatly enhancing the sign’s visibility to the motorist. The LEDs flash at our proprietary Englighten1 flash rate, which is photosensitive epilepsy safe. LED signs can be paired with in-roadway warning lights, automatic pedestrian detection bollards, or used as stand-alone systems. LED signs are budget-friendly, easy-to-install, and offered in both solar and wireless A/C.

    BEST: In-Roadway Warning Lights (IRWL)

    9X LED LightStar™ In-Roadway Warning Light Installation

    For crosswalks on ≥2-Lane roadways in ≤45mph speed zones, In-Roadway Warning Lights (IRWL) are the most effective method at alerting the motorist. IRWLs illuminate the crosswalk lines—visually reinforcing the crosswalk, and alert the motorist up to 1,000 feet in advance using our proprietary Enlighten1 flash rate. Coupled with LED signs, IRWLs provide the maximum level of pedestrian safety and warning to the motorist. IRWLs also offer the highest level of visibility within the field of vision at all speeds. They are the most reliable method at alerting the motorist in severe weather, on wide roadways with no center dividers, and at night, when pedestrians’ need for safety is greatest.

    LightGuard’s in-roadway warning lights alert motorists 1,000 feet in advance of the crosswalk

    • In-pavement LED traffic calming devices have evolved and are becoming more effective with less maintenance issues
    • Studies using LightGuard’s in-pavement LED products show improvements in drivers yielding to pedestrians and better yielding at night4
    • In-pavement warning lights are visible at all speeds, even when drivers’ peripheral vision narrows with speed

     

    Field of Vision at Different Speeds with IRWL Lights

    NOTE: In-roadway warning lights are visible at all speeds. [Graphic via LADOT Vision Zero Report with modifications by LightGuard]

    In-Roadway Warning Light systems offer the greatest design flexibility and help overcome crosswalks with limited visibility, obstructions, curves in the roadway and where crosswalk approaches are hidden from the motorists’ view. LightGuard’s Smart Crosswalk™ IRWL is a highly configurable system that can be used with advanced controllers, radar devices, push buttons, LED signs, pedestrian detection bollards and solar power. IRWLs are ideal for use at parking structure exits, building entrances, airports, employee crossings and other locations where pedestrian safety is a concern.

    Motion detectors, IRWLs and flashing LED signs are used at an underground parking garage exit to alert motorists to the presence of pedestrians on the sidewalk. Trace Loft building, Seattle, Washington.

    4-Lane Smart Crosswalk IRWL system with automatic pedestrian detection bollards. Marco Island, Florida

    With the broadest application, time-tested IRWLs are LightGuard Systems’ most specified lighted crosswalk system

    Smart Crosswalk System at the Outlet Mall in San Clemente, CA

    Shopping mall entrance with multiple parking and crosswalk access points. The Outlets at San Clemente, California. Installation includes: custom bronze colored bollards; flashing 9X LightStar™ in-roadway warning lights, and flashing LED pedestrian signs.

    The Zone of Convergence

    Only LightGuard’s IRWL light beams can be directionally aimed at the approaching motorist’s line of sight, merging to form a blanketed area of light that we call ‘The Zone of Convergence.’ LightGuard’s IRWLs flash at the Enlighten1™ (meaning ‘to inform one’) rate which was developed in conjunction with the UC Berkeley Vision Detection Laboratory. Enlighten1™ reaches a primitive part of the brain that responds to danger and is photosensitive epilepsy safe.

    Aesthetics Matter

    The sleek low profile of LightGuard’s IRWL system on the curb  and in the street appeals to a minimalist sense of design. Whereas erecting a huge mast arm across the roadway, or crowding the curb with more traffic controls is contrary to every design idea we as a modern society are accustomed to. Undergrounding power lines and utilities is requisite to all new residential and urban design. The same design sensibility should also be applied to pedestrian safety.

    In-roadway warning lights are low profile, appealing to a minimalist design aesthetic.

    In contrast, HAWK beacon traffic control devices clutter the roadway and cost roughly 4X more $$$$ than in-roadway warning lights, even before installation costs are considered.

    Studies Using LightGuard Systems’ IRWL

    LightGuard Systems, inventors and pioneers of in-roadway warning lights have had numerous studies conducted using our IRWL system. In a study conducted by Whitlock & Weinberger Transportation Inc., April 1998, LightGuard’s Smart Crosswalk™ IRWL system increased driver yield rates to pedestrians from 20 percent to 95 percent in the evening.4 LightGuard’s products can be customized to fit any uncontrolled marked crosswalks, crosswalks marked with pedestrian, school or trail crossing signs, at locations such as:

    • Urban mid-block crosswalks
    • School zones
    • Intersections with through lanes on major legs
    • Multi-lane crosswalks
    • Greenways
    • Trail crossings
    • Public parking garages
    • Corporate campuses
    • Rail Grade Crossings

     

    LightGuard’s solutions include:

    • Flashing LED safety systems for crosswalks and pedestrian crossings
    • Automatic and manual activation devices that trigger a lighted system
    • System controllers, data collection, storage and management devices
    • Flashing LED Sign and Rapid Rectangular Flashing Beacon (RRFB) systems
    • Flashing LED pedestrian, stop, yield, school zone and other signs

     

    References

    1. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Traffic Safety Facts – 2015 Data – Pedestrians. Report DOT HS 812 375, (Washington, DC: 2017).
    2. Bartmann, W. Spijkers and M. Hess, “Street Environment, Driving Speed and Field of Vision” Vision in Vehicles III (1991)
    3. KLEWtv.com, Flashing lights at crosswalks confuse motorists at two busy intersections in Lewiston, by Shannon Moudy, (February 1st, 2017).
    4. Whitlock & Weinberger Transportation Inc., An Evaluation of a Crosswalk Warning System Utilizing In-Pavement Flashing Lights (April 1998).
    5. A. Leaf and David F. Preusser. Literature review on vehicle travel speeds and pedestrian injuries. (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Dept. of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1999).

     

  2. LightGuard’s TraxAlert™ ‘Lights Up’ RR Grade Crossing in Elk City, OK in USDOT Study

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    Embedded roadway lights at railroad grade crossing

    A demonstration was held with representatives from several agencies, including Volpe National Research Center, Farmrails, City of Elk City and the ODOT on September 18, 2017. This illuminating event commemorates the first installation and study of TraxAlert™ LED in-roadway warning lights (IRWL) used at a RR Grade Crossing in the state of Oklahoma. Funded by the USDOT Volpe National Research Center, the study will evaluate traffic behavior and motorist stopping yield rates before and after the IRWL installation. Results will be available in early 2018.

    About TraxAlert™

    TraxAlert™ is an in-pavement LED warning light signaling system designed for Rail Grade crossing safety. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 240,528 at-grade highway-rail crossings exist in the United States. Even with gates and signal lights, nearly 50% of vehicle-train collisions occur at crossings, creating the need for a more effective active traffic warning device. TraxAlert’s red and amber LED in-roadway warning lights (IRWL) are embedded into and across the roadway, creating two LED flashing warning lines in front of the railroad tracks. The amber IRWLs are located at the stop bar line and define where motorists should stop. The IRWL lights flash automatically, activated by the approaching train. First the red IRWL flash in a quick strobe pattern, then remain on until the train clears the track crossing zone. The amber lights continually flash for the duration of the train’s crossing.

    About LightGuard Systems®

    For twenty-five years, LightGuard Systems’—pioneers in traffic safety and inventors of lighted crosswalk systems—has helped cities, municipalities, schools, traffic safety and transportation engineers build safer crossing environments for pedestrians, students, employees, the elderly and disabled. Customers choose LightGuard for its easy-to-install, robust, reliable and cutting-edge-technology systems, better pedestrian safety outcomes, and a safer, more effective public safety traffic calming method. In a study conducted by Whitlock & Weinberger Transportation Inc., April 1998, LightGuard’s systems increased driver yield rates to pedestrians from 20 percent to 95 percent in the evening.

    LightGuard’s products can be customized to fit any uncontrolled marked crosswalks, crosswalks marked with pedestrian, school or trail crossing signs, at locations such as:

    • Urban mid-block crosswalks
    • School zones
    • Intersections with through lanes on major legs
    • Multi-lane crosswalks
    • Greenways
    • Trail crossings
    • Public parking garages
    • Corporate campuses
    • Rail Grade Crossings

    LightGuard’s solutions include:

    • Lighted safety systems for crosswalk and pedestrian crossings
    • Automatic activation and manual push button devices that trigger a lighted crosswalk warning system’s blinking lights
    • System controllers, data collection, storage and management devices
    • Flashing LED pedestrian, stop, yield, school zone and other signs
    • Flashing LED Sign and Rapid Rectangular Flashing Beacon (RRFB) systems

    History of Smart Crosswalk™

    In 1991, LightGuard’s President, Michael Harrison conceived the idea of a pedestrian crosswalk warning system after a close friend was involved in a fatal crosswalk crash. After several years of research and development, the first ever lighted crosswalk system was created. In 1999, LightGuard presented its technology to the Federal MUTCD Marker and Signals Committees, recommending amendments to the existing MUTCD manual. After both committees approved the recommendations, the FHWA made the final decision on the language and inclusion of in-roadway warning lights at crosswalks into the Millennium Edition of the Federal MUTCD. (See: MUTCD Section 4N). LightGuard Systems® in-roadway warning lights (AKA lighted crosswalks), are now a recognized traffic calming standard in the U.S. LightGuard Systems holds multiple design and utility patents and is based in Santa Rosa, California.

  3. LightGuard Continues Lighting the Way for Crosswalk Safety with Newest Model of Pedestrian Detection Bollard

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    The crosswalk safety and traffic calming device tech leader makes improvements to its automatic pedestrian-activated infrared bollard system with new NightGuide™ and customizable branded logo light embellishment.

    Santa Rosa, Calif.—San Francisco North Bay Area LightGuard Systems announces updates to its Smart Crosswalk™ infrared Automatic Activation Bollard pedestrian detection system for better public crosswalk safety at urban neighborhoods, cities, airports, school zones, parking areas, campuses and private facilities using its Smart Crosswalk™ flashing LED systems, signs, and traffic calming pedestrian safety devices designed to alert motorists to pedestrians inside a crosswalk.

    T6 Automatic Activation Bollard - feature callouts

    The next-generation Smart Crosswalk™ Automatic Activation Bollard (T6) is more attractive and offers more safety lighting features than its predecessor—and any other similar product in the industry—with a new fully customizable lighted logo embellishment on the front and improved courtesy light, NightGuide™—a downward conical-shaped light containing 16 LEDs that softly illuminates and calls pedestrians’ attention to the crosswalk entrance, ‘inviting’ them to a safer place to cross the street.

    The Automatic Activation Bollard pedestrian detection system consists of entry ‘gateways’ created by two opposing bollards which are installed approximately 2’–4’ from the curb at the crosswalk entrance. As pedestrians enter the crosswalk and pass between the two bollards, infrared light beams detect their presence—activating a chain of automated silent and visual communications between the motorist, the pedestrian, the bollard, and the LED warning lights embedded into the pavement that are visible to approaching motorists up to 1,000 feet in advance of the crosswalk.

    The Automatic Activation Bollard ‘gateway’ detection system was invented by the company in the early 90’s to provide the additional safety benefits that a lighted crosswalk system offers to the 67% of pedestrians who did not use the push button to activate the lights. (Whitlock & Weinberger, April 1998, page 32). Using the Automatic Activation Bollard—which requires no pedestrian action aside from walking inside the bollard gateway—nearly 100% pedestrian compliance, or usage, is achieved—providing safety to 67 more pedestrians per 100.

    The new T6 bollard is backwards compatible with the company’s LightStar™ 9X signal head, flashing LED signs, solar, controllers, and other wireless ITS systems—but offers its fullest capabilities to customers using the complete Smart Crosswalk™ in-roadway warning light (IRWL) system with flashing pedestrian LED signs.

    “Cities, schools and municipalities need a proven method to tackle the problems that distracted driving and lack of drivers’ awareness of crosswalks has on pedestrian safety,” says LightGuard President Michael Harrison. “We have a solution. Smart Crosswalk™ alerts motorists, in real-time, of pedestrians inside a crosswalk.”

    LightGuard’s products can be customized to fit any uncontrolled marked crosswalks, crosswalks marked with pedestrian, school or trail crossing signs, at locations such as:

      • Urban mid-block crosswalks
      • School zones
      • Intersections with through lanes on major legs
      • Multi-lane crosswalks
      • Greenways
      • Trail crossings
      • Public parking garages
      • Corporate campuses

     

    “We want city and school leaders to know that technology can support their goals, whether it’s in public safety, reaching Vision Zero, creating a more walkable community, or avoiding a potential liability at an accident-prone crosswalk,” says LightGuard President Michael Harrison.

    About LightGuard Systems®
    For twenty-five years, LightGuard Systems’—pioneers in traffic safety and inventors of lighted crosswalk systems—has helped cities, municipalities, schools, traffic safety and transportation engineers build safer crossing environments for pedestrians, students, employees, the elderly and disabled. Customers choose LightGuard for its easy-to-install, robust, reliable and cutting-edge-technology systems, better pedestrian safety outcomes, and a safer, more effective public safety traffic calming method. In a study conducted by Whitlock & Weinberger Transportation Inc., April 1998, LightGuard’s systems increased driver yield rates to pedestrians from 20 percent to 95 percent in the evening.

     

    LightGuard’s solutions include:

    • Lighted safety systems for crosswalk and pedestrian crossings
    • Automatic activation and manual push button devices that trigger a lighted crosswalk warning system’s blinking lights
    • System controllers, data collection, storage and management devices
    • Flashing LED pedestrian, stop, yield, school zone and other signs
    • Flashing LED Sign and Rapid Rectangular Flashing Beacon (RRFB) systems

     

    History of Smart Crosswalk™

    In 1991, LightGuard’s President, Michael Harrison conceived the idea of a pedestrian crosswalk warning system after a close friend was involved in a fatal crosswalk crash. After several years of research and development, the first ever lighted crosswalk system was created. In 1999, LightGuard presented its technology to the Federal MUTCD Marker and Signals Committees, recommending amendments to the existing MUTCD manual. After both committees approved the recommendations, the FHWA made the final decision on the language and inclusion of in-roadway warning lights at crosswalks into the Millennium Edition of the Federal MUTCD. (See: MUTCD Section 4N). LightGuard Systems® in-roadway warning lights (AKA lighted crosswalks), are now a recognized traffic calming standard in the U.S. LightGuard Systems holds multiple design and utility patents and is based in Santa Rosa, California.

    References
    Whitlock & Weinberger Transportation, Inc. (1998, April 10). An Evaluation of Crosswalk Warning System Utilizing In-Pavement Flashing Lights, Pages 28-32.

    Downlowd SPEC 3006 LGS-T6 Bollard

    Media Contact: Sharon Hustwit, Director of Marketing