County of Marin - News Releases - Flashing Beacon Crosswalks

For Immediate Release
June 24, 2020

County Installs Tech to Improve Crosswalk Safety

Grant funding covers new rapid flashing beacons at specific crosswalks

San Rafael, CA – The Marin County Department of Public Works (DPW)  has completed installation of rectangular rapid flashing beacons at three crosswalks in unincorporated areas of Marin. The technology is designed to improve safety by alerting oncoming drivers that pedestrians are in the crosswalk. The project was funded by two grants totaling $100,000 from the Transportation Authority of Marin’s Safe Pathways Program.

A new pedestrian safety crosswalk beacon installed on a sign adjacent to a busy road.Flashing beacon technology enhances safety at “uncontrolled crosswalks,” where there are no other forms of traffic control.
The three crosswalk locations are at the intersections of Los Ranchitos Road and Ranch Road near Terra Linda; Almonte Boulevard and Rosemont Avenue near Tam Junction; and Point San Pedro Drive and Marina Boulevard near San Rafael High School. The locations were selected based on recorded issues with vehicles not yielding to pedestrians. The data for those crosswalks was higher than average and was confirmed by the California Highway Patrol and Marin County Sheriff’s Office.

Flashing beacon technology enhances safety at “uncontrolled crosswalks,” where there are no other forms of traffic control. Studies by the Federal Highway Administration show that adding beacons to a crosswalk increases vehicle yielding from 18% to 81%.

The rectangular shaped flashing beacons, as well as the related crosswalk signage, are placed in advance of the crosswalk and at the actual crossing location. The technology, which is activated by the pedestrian using a button, is intended to increase driver awareness of pedestrian activity by producing a flashing light pattern similar to emergency flashers on law enforcement vehicles.

This form of safety equipment can be installed at a fraction of the cost and time needed for a full traffic signal installation. There are 10 flashing beacon locations across the 421-mile network of County-maintained roadways in unincorporated Marin.


David Flynn
Transportation Planning & Traffic Division Manager
Department of Public Works

3501 Civic Center Drive
Suite 304
San Rafael, CA 94913
(415) 473-3076
CRS Dial 711
Email: David Flynn