• Nov 26th 2007 at 4:54PM
  • 10

Ever been to a crosswalk, press the button that's suppose to make the light change faster multiple times, only to wait a long time for the signal to change anyway? Pressing the button should decrease the time it takes the light to change to red but I know they just put it there to give you something to do. Why doesn't someone just make a crosswalk button that turns the traffic light red when you press it? Finally, someone has!

or high-intensity activated crosswalk is an incredibly bad acronym and a system currently in use in Arizona that lets pedestrians control stop lights. As you can see in the video above, you just press the crosswalk button and HAWK blinks a red light and traffic stops. There are considerations when installing HAWK such as the volume of pedestrian traffic, high cost and possible confusion by car drivers. I really don't care though; HAWKs should be installed everywhere.

Greater use of HAWKs could mean more safety for walkers and has the added benefit of pedestrians finally getting some power back from cars.

[Source: Metropolitan Transportation Commission]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      Is it just me, or are all the cars rushing to stop on a yellow light? Doesn't seem very true to real life.
      • 7 Years Ago
      How long do you suppose it would be before passengers realize they can hop out of cars stopped at red lights to push the button for the light to change in their vehicle's favor and then quickly return to their car?
      • 7 Years Ago
      Just remember, a car idling at a stop light gets 0 mpg.
      • 7 Years Ago
      You misunderstand the function of those crosswalk buttons. Their purpose is to keep the signal green in the direction you are crossing long enough for a pedestrian to get to the other side. In some intersections, the walk button will actually change the direction of the green, but only in cases where the cycle is set to default in one direction unless a car trips a sensor to switch it to the other direction.

      I'm not aware of any walk button that is designed to "decrease the time it takes the light to change to red." As much as we might not like it, most signal timing (and interconnect) systems are deployed and managed to improve traffic flow; not to speed pedestrians across the street. But good for those folks in Arizona for giving it a try!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Never before could so few do so little to inconvenience so many.

      The drivers of all those cars are people too, with their own places to go. There's no reason someone should take over the intersection just because they're on foot.

      Keeping the light green long enough to walk across really is the important safety issue, and presumably that is what has driven the design of the current standard walk button.
      • 7 Years Ago
      This would so not work in Southern California. That yellow light would have been ran by at least one driver...
      • 7 Years Ago
      I can just see a bunch of kids sitting there pushing the button to stop traffic repeatedly.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Makes sense for school crossings. Safety first.
      • 7 Years Ago
      That is why I stop at the far loop sensor to help trigger the light to change earlier.
      • 7 Years Ago
      As a pedestrian crossing a street I tend to view myself as being part of the larger traffic network, which has all been timed to maximize flow (supposedly). Seeing myself as part of the system instead of separate from it I don't mind having to wait for lights to change to allow me to pass, just as I would have to do in a car anyway. The attitude of "MAKE THE LIGHT CHANGE NOW FOR ME" smacks of the same kind of entitlement I think is so ugly in impatient drivers behind the wheel.
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