VIDEO: MassDOT Launches Campaign To Raise Public Awareness on Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon Signals

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In full transparency, the press release and photo were submitted to SOURCE by MassDOT.

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BOSTON – The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), in collaboration with the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security’s Highway Safety Division, is announcing the launch today, April 26 of a new educational effort that seeks to highlight the importance of Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons (PHB) and encourage their use in communities statewide.

The Beacons, which are also referred to as High-Intensity Activated Cross-Walk (HAWK) signals, are regulatory traffic control devices designed to help stop vehicles traveling in areas of high traffic speed and volume and to allow pedestrians to safely cross roadways and intersections.  

MassDOT has posted a new safety video which showcases the use of Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons on Hancock Street in Quincy. The Beacons can fill the gap in unprotected crosswalk locations such as mid-block crossings where a full traffic signal would not otherwise be warranted. 


The Beacons are designed with two horizontal red lights above a single yellow light, and will operate only when activated by a pedestrian. The specific conditions for motorists and pedestrians, messaging and beacon functions are as follows:

  • Vehicle operators can proceed with caution when the signal is dark. At the same time, a pedestrian will see a steady “Don’t Walk” indication.
  • A pedestrian has activated the signal and drivers should slow down when the bottom yellow signal is flashing. At this time, a pedestrian will continue to see a steady “Don’t Walk” indication.
  • Operators must prepare to stop when the bottom yellow signal is solid,. A pedestrian will continue to see a steady “Don’t Walk” indication.
  • Operators must stop for pedestrians when the upper two red signals are solid. At this time, the pedestrian receives a “Walk” indication and, if all traffic has stopped, may begin to cross the street.
  • Operators must stop before the “Stop” line and proceed with caution if the crosswalk is clear when the top two red signals are flashing.  During this time, a pedestrian already in the crosswalk continues crossing and will receive a flashing “Don’t Walk” indication and a count-down of time remaining to finish crossing the street.

MassDOT installed the first PHBs in North Andover and Hadley in 2016. 


MassDOT High-Intensity Activated Cross-Walk (HAWK) signals

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