FHWA Releases New Interim Approval for Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons
On March 20, 2018, the Federal Highway Association (FHWA) released a new Interim Approval 21 (IA-21) for Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFBs) as a tool to enhance pedestrian crossings. Since the termination of Interim Approval 11 (IA-11) on December 21, 2017, professionals have been coming to terms with the loss of a very effective warning beacon. The termination of IA-11 was not due to safety or performance of the device, but due to an issue where the FHWA prohibits the use of a traffic control device which is patented. This was a known issue for years; however, it became clear that the issue would not resolve. Many agencies created alternate designs using older guidance for Active Warning Beacons. IA-21 comes on the heels of the RRFB patent being purchased by another manufacturer which then disclaimed the patent.