PBOT unveils new “Beacon Buddies” animated video

Posted by on June 2nd, 2011 at 3:56 pm

Still from “Beacon Buddies” video
produced by PBOT.
-Watch it below-

The Portland Bureau of Transportation has released a new animated video to educate the public about “rapid flash beacons.” As we reported back in November 2009 the beacons are PBOT’s preferred tool to improve the safety of mid-block crossings. Why? They’re cheap and they work.

At just $35,000 a piece, and study results that show a massive increase — from 18% to 80% — in the number of people who stop for someone crossing the road once they’re installed, the beacons are being rolled out at tricky crossings and on neighborhood greenway projects throughout the city.

To help educate the public (on both sides of the windshield) about these new devices, PBOT has once again teamed up with the Eugene-based Animated Traffic Law Center to create a short animated video about them . Check it out below…

Learn more about rapid flash beacons on PBOT’s website.

NOTE: Thanks for sharing and reading our comments. To ensure this is a welcoming and productive space, all comments are manually approved by staff. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for meanness, discrimination or harassment. Comments with expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia will be deleted and authors will be banned.

36
Leave a Reply

avatar
17 Comment threads
19 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
26 Comment authors
mabsfJimJimPaul JohnsonponchoSpencer Boomhower Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Nick V
Guest
Nick V

That kid would have been lost without the dog. What does that say about our nation’s youth? Personally I’m offended.

Nick
Guest
Nick

So 82% of people disregarded the crosswalk laws before the beacons were put in? Where is all the outcry about scofflaw motorists?

Also, what’s the best way to request these be installed at a particular crossing?

John Lascurettes
Guest

Nick. They’re not scofflaw motorists. They do after all pay for the roads in their entirety through user fees and are therefore more important than anyone else who might dare to use the road.

Spencer Boomhower
Guest

And it’s not like tons of metal can stop on a dime. Can’t argue with gravity.

(http://bikeportland.org/2011/05/31/salem-watch-distracted-pedestrians-and-crosswalk-safety-bill-under-fire-53927)

Loki
Guest
Loki

Back to school for you! It’s inertia, not gravity.

Spencer Boomhower
Guest

@Loki: Actually I was sarcastically poking fun at a politician who confused gravity with inertia (follow my link), but somehow I knew it would come off as utterly sincere. 🙂

For the record I actually think people on foot receive a disproportionate amount of blame for unsafe behavior and collisions. And that “cars can’t stop on a dime” statement is frequently the rallying call of people who can’t be bothered to take responsibility for the danger they present to other road users.

ron
Guest
ron

Wrong. Most road expenses are paid through fees other than gas taxes…

A.K.
Guest
A.K.

WOOSH

John Lascurettes
Guest

Thanks, A.K. I think the sarcasm went high over his head and hit the wall.

Paul Johnson
Guest
Paul Johnson

Not stopping for pedestrians at marked or unmarked pedestrian crossings is against the law with or without the beacons…

BURR
Guest
BURR

do we really need a video for this? Isn’t it sort of a no-brainer?

and if we do need a video, who’s going to make sure all the scofflaw motorists see it?

Adams Carroll (News Intern)
Guest

Well, one way the scofflaws might see it is when they are standing in line at the DMV… which is where they got the “Every corner is a crosswalk” video to play on a loop.

are
Guest

have not seen any concrete results of that yet. maybe no one ever goes to DMV

Paul Johnson
Guest
Paul Johnson

I think a video is pretty ineffectual when this really is a licensing issue…

deborah
Guest
deborah

I’ve lived in an area that had very similar pedestrian indicator flashing treatments for crosswalks, and they absolutely save lives. Seems like a GREAT idea considering all the people that were killed in crosswalks in the Portland area last year alone.

JJJ
Guest
JJJ

I live near a similar treatment in California. The signs flash and lights embedded in the road flash. Id say 99% of cars stop. And when the pedestrian is finished, cars that come later, while the lights are still on, slow down from 40mph to around 15-20mph.

The downside is that at every other unmarked crosswalk all along the same road, Id put compliance at close to 0%.

are
Guest

what an excellent observation. soon we will be hearing from motorists about those d*mn pedestrians who insist on crossing where there is no beacon.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

Hey, come on–if it’s less than a mile to walk to the nearest beacon, what’s the big deal? Aren’t pedestrians just out lollygagging around with nowhere to be? And why do those cyclists insist on riding where there are no bike lanes? And all bikes should be licensed and pay the same registration fee as cars!

Oops–I must have been reading too many Oregonian comments.

dsaxena
Guest
dsaxena

Jonathan, does PBOT have a list of intersections where they plan to install these publicly available?

jim
Guest
jim

I would guess they are intended for non-intersection crossings where people have a hard time crossing

Paul Hanrahan
Guest
Paul Hanrahan

It’s interesting what JJJ said about the lack of compliance at the other crosswalks that do not have the flashing lights. I wonder if they have done a study on the effect of the flashing light crosswalk having a negative compliance effect on the other, non flashing crosswalks.

Schrauf
Guest
Schrauf

$35,000? Holy crap. Retrofitting is so expensive – most of the cost is probably tearing up and repaving asphalt to install the wiring. I bet on new construction the incremental cost would be $10,000 or less. $35k is nevertheless worth it at some problem crossings.

Randall S.
Guest
Randall S.

Roads cost anywhere from $750,000 to $3.5million/mile to build. $35,000 (even each) seems pretty cheap to me.

Tim
Guest
Tim

The first time I saw one of these I nearly rolled through the crossing. I was wondering what all the flashing was about and almost didn’t notice the pedestrian crossing. However, I think most people never notice pedestrain crossings but would notice the flasshing lights.

Without enforcement, all laws are mearly suggestings for the law abiding and worthless hot air for those who don’t care.

Editz
Guest
Editz

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Well, one way the scofflaws might see it is when they are standing in line at the DMV… which is where they got the “Every corner is a crosswalk” video to play on a loop.

A better idea is to have local television stations air it as a public service since they’ve been granted use of the public airwaves. Time to pay back.

Ryno Dan
Guest
Ryno Dan

This video shows (right at the beginning) that even at a marked crosswalk, motor vehicles don’t stop for pedestrians.
What would be cool is if the video showed the PPD ticketing such motorists.
Anyway, if this was a red light, there would be 99.9 % compliance, and no video needed.

velowocky
Guest
velowocky

I like that the light bars flash horizontally. Here in LO they recently installed flashing yellow lights for a ped crossing (like the type you might see in a school zone) and at first it’s not obvious why they are even flashing. This new design is great though- it gets your attention and tells you immediately that a pedestrian is waiting to cross.

jim
Guest
jim

This is just another big waste of tax payers money (making the video I mean)
The lights are great, I really like them. Any motorist is going to notice those bright flashing strobes, and are very likely to stop. The video is’nt going to make one ioda of a difference of how well they work. This is 100% waste of money. The money they spent on the video could have been spent on more crossing lights. sigh 🙁

mabsf
Guest
mabsf

Hi Jim,
unfortunately nothing works in this country without PR… that is also one of the reason why we still need “Drive less, Safe more”… and when you think that the car industry spends about 60 Billion on PR per year… a little video is an atom of water on a very large stone…

And about the kid being lost without its dog: It’s not always the fault of the kids – I know many parents who are terrified to let their kids walk even the shortest distance by themselves because of fear of strangers and cars… hence the parents drive their kids everywhere…

poncho
Guest
poncho

i’d prefer retractable bollards rise out of the street when the button is activated… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRPEW2OMIU8

am i the only one who is troubled that pedestrians have to press a button to get permission to cross their street? and by the looks of the video they have to press it again in the middle of the street. even with this installed, cars still rule the street. its no 99% guarantee they’ll stop light like a red traffic light.

and a discuss needs to be had about the crosswalk times, i’m a young able bodied person and i can barely make it across many suburban streets in the time allotted by traffic engineers. 10 seconds to cross a 6 lane arterial is certainly not enough time for seniors and the disabled

jim
Guest
jim

Poncho- Your not the only one that has trouble with the time to cross. I would think the yellow strobes would make a safer crossing than any of the others.

Paul Johnson
Guest
Paul Johnson

Odds of vehicles stopping on red here are very low, westside moreso than eastside. It’s one of the things that makes Portland so unlivable.

poncho
Guest
poncho

correction
*its no 99% guarantee they’ll stop as is the case at a red traffic light.*

poncho
Guest
poncho

Spencer Boomhower
@Loki: Actually I was sarcastically poking fun at a politician who confused gravity with inertia (follow my link), but somehow I knew it would come off as utterly sincere. 🙂
For the record I actually think people on foot receive a disproportionate amount of blame for unsafe behavior and collisions. And that “cars can’t stop on a dime” statement is frequently the rallying call of people who can’t be bothered to take responsibility for the danger they present to other road users.

Agreed, though to some degree its true when all your roads and streets built for speed as dragstrips. We need to bring speeds down to 20 mph (or lower given that stupidrule of thumb that you can drive +10 mph) so that motorists can safely stop on a dime. Plus if the sales pitch is that they can go from “zero to 60(mph)” in a few seconds, I think they can also go from 60 to zero in a few seconds, cars aren’t mile long freight trains.

Paul Johnson
Guest
Paul Johnson

poncho

Spencer Boomhower
(or lower given that stupidrule of thumb that you can drive +10 mph)

You mean the one that only exists if you’re driving an ambulance in response to a call?

JimJim
Guest
JimJim

Way out west in Forest Grove, there are two similar flashing lights that are operated by a motion detector. Just walk up to the sidewalk’s edge, the lights flash, and traffic in both lanes slows and stops. The speed limit there is 35, but the road also “bottlenecks” down so traffic typically flows at 30 or less.

Very effective — they use more standard flashing yellow caution lights with no need for training videos. Also, the lights are mounted high enough that traffic can see the flashing from a block away.

I wonder if drivers might see these “rapid flash” things and wonder what the heck is that? I mean, why not regular flashing yellow?