Tucson BikeHAWK, Adapting the Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon to Assist Bicyclists in Crossing Arterial Streets


  • Richard B. Nassi, P.E., Ph.D.
  • Gabe Thum, M.S.
  • Blake Olofson, P.E., PTOE
  • Paul Casertano, AICP
  • Diahn Swartz, P.E. PTOE


The Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon (PHB) or HAWK has been successfully used by communities around the nation to facilitate safe, convenient crossings of busy, high-speed roadways by pedestrians since its inclusion in the 2009 edition of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). While not excluding their use, standard PHBs have never explicitly accommodated another large user group in need of the same facilitation to cross arterials: bicyclists. In 2012, the City of Tucson began efforts to modify select PHBs to allow for the clear and safe crossing of both user groups.

Starting in the 1980s, the City of Tucson shifted its focus from simply providing bike lanes along arterial and collector roadways to identifying existing residential streets that could be enhanced to provide a network of calm, low-stress bikeways. Having identified these routes (now termed bike boulevards), the city endeavored to improve this network by reducing automobile traffic, encouraging bicyclist use, and most critically, addressing how to safely and conveniently cross major streets where they intersect these bike boulevards.