Bicycle and Pedestrian Treatments
- Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons (PHBs) are a traffic control device that warn and control traffic at unsignalized locations.
- PHBs assist pedestrians in crossing a street or highway at a marked crosswalk.
- PHBs use a sequence of lights to stop traffic and allows a pedestrian to travel across the roadway safely.
How to Use A PHB
- The PHB rests in dark until a pedestrian activates it via pushbutton or other form of detection.
- Once activated, the beacon displays a sequence of flashing and solid lights that indicate the pedestrian walk interval.
- While the lights are flashing and pedestrians are crossing the roadway, drivers are stopped at a stop bar ahead of the crosswalk.
- When pedestrians have finished crossing the roadway, it is safe for drivers to proceed.
- The PHB is often considered for installation at locations where pedestrians need to cross and vehicle speeds or volumes are high, but where traffic signal warrants are not met.
- These devices have been successfully used at school crossings, parks, senior centers, and other pedestrian crossings on multilane streets.
- PHBs are typically installed at the side of the road or on mast arms over midblock pedestrian crossings.
- PHBs are intended for installation at midblock locations but may be installed at intersections.
- Often used with:
- High-visibility crosswalk markings
- Raised islands
- Advance STOP or YIELD signs and markings
BenefitsImproved Safety: PHBs stop all lanes of traffic, which can reduce pedestrian crashes by up to 55%.
Traffic Compliance: Better stop/driver yield compliance than Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon (RRFB).
Increased efficiency: PHBs can be more efficient than full color traffic signals by allowing motorists to proceed during the flashing red display if no pedestrians are present.
Cost Effective: The PHB is often less expensive than a full traffic signal installation.
Easier Approval: Less rigid justification process than a signal warrant.
Policy and Design Guidance
Guidelines are provided for informational purposes only. For detailed design guidance, please refer directly to design manuals and standards listed below in Resources.
- The PHB should meet the application guidelines provided in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for existing or projected pedestrian volumes, and criteria established by VDOT Traffic Engineering Division Memorandum IIM-TE-384, “Pedestrian Crossing Accommodations at Unsignalized Locations.”
- PHBs are a candidate treatment for roads with three or more lanes that generally have annual average daily traffic (AADT) above 9,000.
- PHBs should be strongly considered for all midblock and intersection crossings where the roadway speed limits are equal to or greater than 40 miles per hour (mph).
- PHBs should only be installed in conjunction with marked crosswalks and pedestrian countdown signals.
- NCHRP Report 562 , “Guidelines for Pedestrian Crossing Treatments” provides additional information on PHBs.
- The Virginia Supplement to the MUTCD provides additional guidance on operations and design considerations.
- PHBs, on average, cost $230,000 to $265,000.
Examples of PHB Use
Ribbon-cutting for the VDOT PHB on Backlick Road in Fairfax County in 2016. VDOT installed the midblock PHB at a high-volume pedestrian crossing location connecting transit stops on either side near an elementary school.
PHB at the intersection of North Van Dorn Street and Maris Avenue in the City of Alexandria. PHBs can be installed at intersections to warn/control the free-flow mainline approaches during a pedestrian actuation, while the minor leg continues to be controlled by the stop sign.
Treatment applications and general design guidance:
- VDOT Traffic Engineering Division Memorandum IIM-TE-384, “Pedestrian Crossing Accommodations at Unsignalized Locations”
- MUTCD Part 4: Highway Traffic Signals
- Virginia State Preferred CMF List
- VA Supplement to the MUTCD Chapter 4
- FHWA Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon Tech Sheet
- NCHRP Report 562, “Guidelines for Pedestrian Crossing Treatments”
- FHWA Hybrid Beacon Guide
A traditional bicycle lane
- Traditional bicycle lanes are one-way facilities running along the curb, shoulder, or on-street parking lane that carry bicycle traffic in the same direction as motor vehicle traffic.
- A traditional bicycle lane is designated by pavement markings and signing for the preferential use of bicycles.
- Traditional bicycle lanes have horizontal separation (i.e. pavement markings, such as solid white lines) but do not have vertical separation between the bike lane and the vehicle travel lane and/or parking lane.
How to Use A Traditional Bicycle Lane
As they ride, bicyclists should be aware of turning motor vehicles and opening doors. A bicyclist may leave a traditional bicycle lane to pass other users, make turns, or avoid obstacles.
Drivers may cross through a traditional bicycle lane only to make a right turn or to enter/exit a parking spot. When making a right turn or accessing parking, drivers are required to yield to bike traffic, then merge into the bike lane and turn from the curb or park. In these instances, the bicyclist should pass on the left as the driver merges to the right.
Drivers may not drive or park in a traditional bicycle lane unless weather conditions, an accident, or another emergency situation requires them to do so.
- A traditional bicycle lane is often installed on streets with moderate average daily traffic, speed limits below 35 mph, and with high transit vehicle volumes. On low speed streets with higher volumes, a traditional bicycle lane is preferred over a wide curb lane.
- On streets with higher traffic volumes, steep grades, high truck traffic, or high parking turnover, treatments that provide greater physical separation should be considered.
- Improved Safety: Provides separation from motor vehicles, establishes predictable riding behavior, visually reminds motorists of bicyclists’ presence and right of way
- Improved comfort: Allows bicyclists to travel at their preferred speed
- Traffic compliance: Reduces wrong way riding
- Increased efficiency: Increases capacity of the roadway
Policy and Design Guidance
Guidelines are provided for informational purposes only. For detailed design guidance, please refer directly to the design manuals and standards listed below in Resources.
Wider bicycle lanes provide higher levels of capacity and comfort and they facilitate safer passing and side-by-side riding without needing to leave the bicycle lane.
- Care should be taken to assure the width of the “rideable surface” is adequate; the measured width of the lane should take into account possible obstacles such as gutters, as well as clearance from vertical elements such as curbs or guardrails.
- Generally, traditional bicycle lanes are positioned on the right side of the street unless the street is one-way and designated as a Bike Boulevard.
- Bike lanes should have a smooth riding surface and be free of raised utility covers and debris.
- A single solid white line is often used to demarcate the lane and minimize conflicts with parked cars or adjacent vehicles. Lane markings may be dashed through intersections or other merging areas.
- Green pavement markings may be used to increase the visibility of the bicycle lane.
- Bicycle lane pavement markings should be periodically stenciled in the bicycle lane, especially following intersections.
- Cost estimate: $85,000 - $320,000 per mile (Low end of cost estimates assumes only thermoplastic lane lines and signage. High end of cost estimates assumes all above and continuous application of green pavement markings in conflict areas.)
Examples of Traditional Bicycle Lane Use
A traditional bicycle lane on Route 29 in Amherst, VA (VDOT)
The Town of Amherst converted overly wide shoulders and travel lanes on Route 29 to bike lanes through a simple “lane diet.” This concept did not remove any roadway capacity, but reduced the lane widths and re-allocated space to provide bicycle facilities.
Before and after a traditional bicycle lane was installed on Lawyers Road in Fairfax County, VA (VDOT Roadway Reconfiguration Guidance Brochure )
VDOT worked with Fairfax County to implement a roadway reconfiguration along Lawyers Road that included a new bike lane. Survey results following the project indicated that the new reconfiguration encouraged more cycling as a travel mode.
Potential Intersection Crossing Treatments for Traditional Bicycle Lanes (FHWA Separated Bike Lane Planning and Design Guidance)
When traditional bicycle lanes travel through intersections or merging areas, green paint, dashed lines, or other combinations of pavement markings may be used to alert drivers to bicyclists’ presence.
On roads with traditional bicycle lanes, drivers wishing to turn must merge into the bike lane and turn from the curb (Bike Walk RVA Booklet )
When making a right turn, drivers are required to yield to bike traffic, then merge into the bike lane and turn from the curb. In these instances, the bicyclist should pass on the left as the driver merges to the right.
Legal definitions and regulations:
- Code of Virginia, § 46.2-100. Definitions
- Code of Virginia, § 46.2-907. Overtaking and passing vehicles
- Code of Virginia, § 46.2-841. When overtaking vehicle may pass on right.
- Code of Virginia, § 46.2-905. Riding bicycles, electric personal assistive mobility devices, electric power-assisted bicycles, motorized skateboards or scooters, and mopeds on roadways and bicycle paths.
Treatment applications and general design guidance:
Geometric design guidance for Virginia:
Pavement markings, signage, and spacing: