Monday, June 28, 2010
Montgomery County’s Department of Transportation’s (MCDOT) Traffic Engineering Division is testing a new type of pedestrian-oriented traffic signal on Gude Drive in Rockville in an area that has had eight pedestrian collisions in the past two years.
The new signal is called a HAWK, short for High-intensity Activated crossWalK. It’s designed for locations where a full traffic signal isn’t suitable, but where standard treatments, such as signs or flashing lights, have had only limited success. The effectiveness of the HAWK signal in stopping traffic for pedestrians has been as high as 97 percent in other parts of the country.
The HAWK signal on Gude Drive flashes yellow at all times to provide a warning that pedestrians may be present. When a walker pushes a button on the signal, it first turns solid yellow and then red, allowing the pedestrian to cross two lanes of traffic. Once in the median, the pedestrian repeats the process to cross the remaining two lanes. Traffic impacts are minimized, while pedestrian safety is enhanced.
MCDOT will be collecting “before” and “after” data to evaluate the HAWK’s effectiveness. For more information on pedestrian safety, visit the County’s website