By now you've probably heard about the Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon (RRFB) Interim Approval (IA-21) from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). What you might not know are the steps you need to take to request new RRFB IA-21 approval to install this proven traffic solution in your community.Background
A patent dispute at the end of 2017 led to the FHWA removing its previous RRFB Interim Approval, IA-11. This decision had nothing to do with the effectiveness of flashing light bars, which have been shown to increase driver compliance by as much as 90 percent.
The patent issue was laid to rest as of March 20, 2018. Shortly after this resolution, the FHWA issued Iterim Approval 21 - Rectangular Rapid-Flashing Beacons at Croswalks.
All state and local agencies must apply for new approvals under IA-21.
Interim Approval (IA-21) Updates
IA-21 requires newly-installed RRFBs to utilize a WW+S (wig-wag and simultaneous) flash pattern. On existing installs, the previous flash pattern can remain in use until the next system maintenance cycle.
To reduce excessive nighttime glare, dimmable RRFB LEDs are also recommended for all new installations. For more information on the differences, click here.
To help you, we outlined a step-by-step RRFB IA-21 Approval Process Guide to make things easier:
Step 1: View this form example of a Request for IA-21 Approval Letter. This will get you started on your own Approval Letter.
Step 2: Copy the text from our form example onto your agency letterhead and replace the sections in RED with details pertaining to your community including contact information and sign-off.
Step 3: Send your personalized Approval Letter to MUTCDofficialrequest@dot.gov.
Step 4: Plan on improving your pedestrian safety ahead of the approval by contacting us to learn more about our RRFB Pedestrian Crossing Solutions. We are happy to help you do whatever you need to improve the safety of your community so don’t hesitate to ask our experts for help.