Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons

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Project Background

Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFBs) are traffic safety warning devices that use LED lights to emit rapid flashing (wig-wag) lights to drivers to alert them of the presence of pedestrians in the crosswalk. Originally tested and used in Florida, they are now used in several states including North Carolina.

RRFB units are used at the following crossings in Cary:

  • NW Maynard Rd. for the Black Creek Greenway crossing at the entrance to Godbold Park
  • West Dynasty Dr. for the Black Creek Greenway crossing west of Sudbury Dr.
  • Jenks Carpenter Rd. for the White Oak Greenway crossing north of Fryars Creek Dr.
  • Morrisville Pkwy for the American Tobacco Trail crossing east of East Ferrell Rd
  • Green Level Church Rd. and Dennison Ln./Jewel Creek Dr.

How They Are Used

It is important to know that RRFBs are not traffic control devices, but are advanced safety features that help pedestrians alert motorists to their presence within the crosswalk. The lights are activated via push button used by the pedestrian as they begin to cross the roadway. Pedestrians are expected to wait until there is a sufficient gap in traffic before entering the crosswalk. The LED lights are timed to allow enough time for the pedestrians to completely cross the roadway. Drivers are expected to follow State law and yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk. 

The RRFBs will be active all day, allowing for activations during early morning and evening hours for commuter trail users. The units are solar powered so they will not be subject to power interruption during power outages.

Safety Features of RRFBs and the Greenway Mid-Block Pedestrian Crossing Project

Studies have found that RRFBs have been able to improve the rate at which drivers yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk from 10-20% to 70-85%. To view these studies and to find more information on the safety of RRFBs, please visit the FHWA Safety webpage on RRFB units. The Black Creek Greenway Trail crossing on NW Maynard Rd includes a pedestrian and bicycle refuge in the median. The refuge provides a large waiting area for trail users as well as hand rails and access to the RRFB units. Providing this type of refuge will help trail users as it allows them to cross one direction of travel on NW Maynard Rd at a time. RRFB units are also installed in the median, allowing users to activate the RRFB for each crossing independently.


David Spencer, P.E.
Senior Engineer
Transportation & Facilities Department
Town of Cary
(919) 462-3833