Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center

« back to the list

Safety Evaluation of Flashing Beacons at STOP-Controlled Intersections

Product Type

Research Report


Srinivasan, R., D.L. Carter, K.A. Eccles, B. Persaud, N.X. Lefler, C. Lyon, and R. Amjadi




The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) organized a pooled fund study of 26 States to evaluate low-cost safety strategies as part of its strategic highway safety effort. One of the strategies chosen to be evaluated for this study was flashing beacons. Three types of flashing beaconsintersection control beacons, beacons mounted on STOP signs, and actuated beaconswere considered collectively at stop-controlled intersections. This strategy is intended to reduce the frequency of crashes related to driver unawareness of stop control at unsignalized intersections. Geometric, traffic, and crash data were obtained at stop-controlled intersections for 64 sites in North Carolina and 42 sites in South Carolina. Empirical Bayes methods were incorporated in a before-after analysis to determine the safety effectiveness of installing flashing beacons, while accounting for potential selection bias and regression-to-the-mean effects. Overall, installation of flashing beacons in North Carolina resulted in statistically significant reductions in total, angle, and injury plus fatal crashes. The intersections in South Carolina experienced very little change following the introduction of flashing beacons. The combined results from both the States supports the conclusion that an angle crash reduction of a 13 percent and an injury and fatal crash reduction of 10 percent can be expected. The economic analysis based on the combined results for angle and nonangle accidents from both States indicates that standard flashing beacons and some of the actuated ones (i.e., the less expensive beacons) are economically justified, but that a benefit cost ratio of 2:1 may not be achievable for the more expensive actuated beacon types.

Link To Research Report

Safety Evaluation of Flashing Beacons at STOP-Controlled Intersections


flashing beacons
STOP signs
safety improvements
safety evaluations
epirical Bayesian
unsignalized intersections

« Back to the List

HSIS Summaries

HSIS Summary Reports are two to eight pages in length and include a brief description of the issue addressed, data used, methodology applied, significant results, and practical implications.

Read More

Research Reports

A variety of research studies have been performed using data from HSIS. Many of the final reports prepared are now available electronically.

Read More

Technical Summaries

Research reports are often summarized in executive summaries, technical briefs, or other abbreviated formats. Included here are those road safety summaries that involved research using HSIS data.

Read More

Safety Analysis Tools

In addition to conducting research, HSIS resources are also used to develop products that can be used by practitioners in the analysis of safety problems.

Read More

Other Projects

HSIS data are sometimes used in research studies that result in other types of finished products, such as dissertations, theses, and conference proceedings.

Read More