LJB RRFB Design Aims to Improve Safety for Rec Trail Users

IMG_0007The Heritage Rail Trail in Hilliard, Ohio, is a heavily used recreational trail for walkers, joggers and cyclists, boasting 1,000 to 1,500 users per weekend day.

In 2012, the City of Hilliard conducted a study of the pathway and the safety of several trail crossings, which identified the trail’s Cosgray Road crossing as a possible safety hazard based on vehicle speed, vehicle volume and available gaps in traffic. Because maintaining the trail as a safe and comfortable facility was extremely important to the city, LJB designed a rectangular rapid flash beacon (RRFB) at the crossing. The beacon notifies motorists that a pedestrian is waiting to cross the street and instructs them to yield to the pedestrian.

“Although we had not had any pedestrian crashes, we were concerned that trail users were taking risks to get across the street or waiting quite a long time to get across,” said Letty Schamp, Transportation Engineer for the City of Hilliard. “Most vehicles did not yield to pedestrians waiting to cross, so the RRFB was identified as a possible solution to encourage motorists to yield and decrease delay and risky behavior by trail users during peak hours.”

The RRFB combines a standard crosswalks warning sign assembly with an extremely bright LED light that flashes in an alternating and irregular pattern (similar to a strobe light used on police car). LJB is one of the few companies to have designed a RRFB in Ohio.

To further improve the safety of the crossing, LJB also designed street lighting to enhance visibility, curbing to encourage slower vehicle speeds, improved signage and pavement markings and modification of landscaping to improve visibility of pedestrians and oncoming motorists.

The beacon has been in use for several months and the city is currently conducting a study to evaluate the effectiveness of the RRFB installation on driver and trail-user behavior. The study should be completed this fall.

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