FHWA Reinstated Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFBs) to Approved Product List

RRFB devices are proven tools in preventing pedestrian injury or death. Producing a driver yield rate of 96%, they are not only efficient, but cost-effective tools as well. In 2008, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) granted interim approval for the use of RRFB devices in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). This led to states and other agencies adding the devices to their own approved products lists.

However, the manufacturer of the device, Carmanah Traffic, later patented the design of the device. Because the FHWA prohibits the use of proprietary devices, the RRFBs were taken off their approved list on December 21, 2017. A few months later, Carmanah Traffic released their patents so that the RRFB devices could be used by public agencies, leading to the FHWA reinstating the RRFB devices to their approved products list. With the release of the patent and the FHWA’s approval, manufacturers can continue to produce RRFBs without licensing fees or risking patent infringement.

Carmanah Traffic intends to continue advancing RFRB technology with the goal of increasing roadway safety as more of the devices are deployed in crosswalks across the country. NDOT has installed multiple RRFBs across Northern and Southern Nevada as part of their Pedestrian Safety Improvement Project.

Source: Carmanah Traffic

“The ability to use RRFBs will undoubtedly help reduce pedestrian and bicycle injuries and deaths. We hope that the RRFB interim approval may one day become a full inclusion in the MUTCD,” said John Simmons, Carmanah CEO.

“Our vision is to be the global leader in the signals industry, and one of the traits of a good leader is knowing when to take a stand for the benefit of all. We believe in improving safety, and we believe in this product: we could not stand by and do nothing when technology with the proven ability to save lives is at risk of being stifled,” Simmons said. “We believe manufacturers should not compete on intellectual property; technology should be in the public domain so we can all compete on the merits of our ideas and quality of manufacturing.