Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon (aka H.A.W.K.)

Project Overview

The HAWK beacon is a new kind of crosswalk system technically called a pedestrian hybrid beacon.  It is designed to enhance safety for pedestrians when crossing the street at mid-block crosswalks or other locations that are not controlled by stop signs or regular traffic signals. HAWK stands for High-intensity Activated crossWalK. Unlike traditional traffic lights, HAWK beacons have four phases: blinking yellow, solid yellow, solid red, and blinking red. The beacon is activated when a pedestrian presses a button.

How is a HAWK beacon different from other traffic signals or beacons?

Like conventional traffic signals, the HAWK beacon provides a pedestrian with an indication notifying them when to cross the street. Unlike conventional traffic signals, the HAWK works only  when activated by a pedestrian. A driver will notice the HAWK beacon in a "dark mode" for the most part until it is activated.

Here’s how it works:

  1. The beacon flashes yellow immediately after someone pushes the button.
  2. It then turns solid yellow, warning drivers to prepare to stop.
  3. The beacon then turns a solid red, requiring drivers to make a complete stop. Pedestrians are then informed to begin crossing.
  4. The beacon then flashes red and drivers may proceed after coming to a complete stop and when all pedestrians have made complete crossings safely. (Drivers do not have to stop when the HAWK beacon is in dark mode.)

How to Use a high-intensity activated crosswalk beacon.

Project Status

The HAWK beacon is currently under design and will be installed at S 156th Street and 4th Ave S in Spring 2019. Public Works will be monitoring its operation to evaluate its effectiveness and applicability in other mid-block crossings and intersections throughout the city.

Project Manager

Brian Victor, (206) 248-5533,