Caltrans: HAWK Pedestrian Beacon

Caltrans Takes Flight with the HAWK Pedestrian Beacon, an Innovative Safety System Benefiting Motorists, Pedestrians & Bicyclists

OAKDALE – When rural highways slice through towns, they create conflicts as fast-moving cars enter pedestrian-heavy neighborhoods with schools, shopping and homes adjacent to the road. 

Crosswalks painted on the street might not be sufficient to alert drivers that they are entering a pedestrian zone, and traffic signals could impact the traffic flow as vehicles repeatedly stop and start as the signal rotates from red to green. 

With that in mind, Caltrans installed a HAWK (High intensity Activated crossWalK) pedestrian beacon at State Route 108 and Lee Avenue in Oakdale. It is one of three HAWKs on California highways, with others in Crescent City (photo) and Los Banos. It is just one of many innovative approaches to safety being used by Caltrans.  

In this Caltrans News Flash, we explain how the HAWK enables pedestrians to cross busy roads. Intersections with the HAWK have experienced a 69 percent reduction in pedestrian-related collisions. 

The HAWK also has a role in Caltrans’ Active Transportation Program (ATP), which encourages walking and cycling for short trips. The ATP increases safety and mobility for those using non-motorized transportation, while helping California achieve its greenhouse gas reduction goals. 

This video may also be viewed at: This Caltrans News Flash is the 134th in a series highlighting Caltrans' activities that present the wide-ranging and critical work that Caltrans does to enhance California's economy and livability. To see more videos, search for #CaltransNewsFlash on Twitter or visit