The valley’s first High-Intensity Activated crossWalK (HAWK) signal is scheduled to be activated on Tuesday, March 13, 2012 at 10 a.m., on Sahara Avenue, near 15th Street. The HAWK signal is intended to help minimize the distance between signalized pedestrian crossings in that area of the corridor. The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada’s (RTC)’s Freeway and Arterial System of Transportation (FAST) division, in partnership with the city of Las Vegas, are preparing valley drivers and pedestrians for the launch of the signal, which allows for protected pedestrian crossings by stopping road traffic only as needed.
The signal for motorists is suspended above the roadway and it consists of two round red side-by-side lenses, above a single yellow lens. Unlike an ordinary traffic signal, the HAWK signal only lights when activated by a pedestrian who wishes to cross. The signal first flashes yellow, then displays a steady yellow, and finally a steady red over a period of several seconds. The pedestrian signals at either end of the crosswalk display the upraised hand (don’t walk) signal until the HAWK signal displays the steady red signal. At that time, the pedestrian signals display the walking-person (walk) indication.
Research has shown that motorists’ compliance with a HAWK signal is up to 97 percent higher than with a traditional, un-signalized crossing. This innovative signal will be linked with other traffic signals along the corridor by the RTC’s FAST division in order to maintain coordinated operations. The signal was installed as part of the RTC’s Sahara Express rapid transit project along the corridor. The Sahara Express, which is scheduled to launch in May 2012, will provide enhanced transit along Sahara Avenue.
The RTC’s FAST division is one of the first truly integrated Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) organizations in the country, designed to both monitor and control traffic. FAST uses all available tools to improve the public’s commute throughout Southern Nevada. It coordinates traffic timing patterns for more than 3,000 traffic signals throughout the Las Vegas Valley. FAST also manages traffic on valley freeways using dynamic message signs, freeway ramp meters, traffic cameras and traffic flow detectors. With more than 200 traffic cameras, FAST monitors traffic and provides travel time and traffic information for motorists by updating dynamic message signs and via e-mail and text message alerts.
The RTC is the transit authority, transportation planning agency and regional traffic management agency for Southern Nevada. The RTC’s vision is to provide a safe, convenient and effective regional transportation system that enhances mobility and air quality for citizens and visitors. The RTC encourages residents and visitors to use alternate commute modes to help reduce traffic congestion, clean the air and improve the quality of life in Southern Nevada. For more information, visit rtcsnv.com.
Illustration of How The Signal Works