ITE Journal May 2018 - 12

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ITE, FHWA, AND CARMANAH RALLY TO KEEP
RECTANGULAR RAPID-FLASHING BEACONS IN OUR SAFETY TOOLBOX
In today's rapidly changing environment,
our profession's ability to quickly adapt to
new and emerging traffic control devices is
critical to meeting the needs of the communities we serve. The advent of autonomous
and connected vehicles, implementation of
Complete Streets designs, and new mobility services are driving increased demands
for additions and changes to the Manual
on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).
ITE, recognizing the critical role that the
MUTCD plays in ensuring safety and mobility throughout our nation's transportation
system, has been an active voice in encouraging the Federal Highway Administration
(FHWA) to utilize Interim Approvals, Official
Interpretations, and MUTCD Revisions to
supplement and update the MUTCD in ways
that allow professionals to move forward
while waiting for the next full edition to
be released.
ITE headquarters closely monitors updates
regarding these tools, so much attention
was focused on FHWA's December 21, 2017
announcement that a patent dispute issue
necessitated their termination of the Interim
Approval granted in 2008 for Rectangular
Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFBs). The termination was necessary because the MUTCD
prohibits inclusion of patented devices, in
either the Manual, an Interim Approval, or an
approved experiment, and FHWA discovered

that aspects of the RRFB devices covered
by the 2008 Interim Approval were covered
by patents.
Given that RRFB devices are proven to save
lives at pedestrian crossings on uncontrolled
approaches, with hundreds if not thousands
of these devices not yet installed but part of
active construction projects, ITE members
had considerable interest and concern. ITE
leadership immediately began working to
address the issue though engagement with
the National Committee on Uniform Traffic
Control Devices (NCUTCD), discussions at
ITE Council meetings, communication with
FHWA staff, and discussion by the ITE Board
of Direction.
On January 9, 2018, ITE International President Michael Sanderson sent a letter to
FHWA Acting Administrator Brandye Hendrickson communicating ITE's concerns and
outlining three specific requests: provision
of time for jurisdictions to complete existing
RFFB commitments; assistance from FHWA
as ITE works with its public agency members
and the NCUTCD to develop and evaluate
alternative configurations that accomplish
the safety performance objectives of RRFBs;
and continued efforts by FHWA to seek a
solution with the patent holder that would
allow the RRFB to eventually be re-approved
for use.

ITE Headquarters

Institute of
Transportation Engineers

community.ite.org
12

May 2018

i te jo urn al

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On January 29, ITE was pleased to inform
members that FHWA responded to the letter
by issuing a revised Q&A on the subject,
stating "FHWA believes it is in the public
interest...to complete projects that have
documentation of RRFBs with procurements
issued and/or construction plans underway
prior to FHWA's December 21, 2017 notice."
FHWA also indicated a willingness for its
Division Offices to work with agencies
faced with challenges in replacing RRFBs in
projects in the design process. ITE Executive
Director Jeffrey F. Paniati noted, "This is a
great example of ITE's ability to represent
the interests of its members on an important
issue and to work collaboratively with FHWA
to achieve a positive result. We extend our
thanks to Acting Administrator Hendrickson
and Associate Administrator Martin Knopp
and his staff for their willingness to listen
and respond to the issues being raised
by ITE members." After this development,
ITE continued work with members, the
National Committee on Uniform Traffic
Control Devices, and FHWA to develop and
promote alternatives to the RRFB and created
a working group on the topic.
On March 20, 2018, good news for public
agencies deploying RRFBs arrived when
Carmanah Technologies Corporation of
Victoria, BC, Canada, announced that it
had purchased and disclaimed all patents
restricting RRFBs from gaining federal
approvals in the United States. Immediately
following Carmanah's actions, FHWA released
Interim Approval IA-21, which allows RRFBs
as an approved option, as described in its
March 20, 2018 Memorandum.
Carmanah purchased all RRFB patents with
the sole purpose of disclaiming them, a move
that propels the RRFB into the public domain,
stating, "the market is open for anyone allowing all current and future manufacturers to
produce RRFBs without licensing fees or fear


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ITE Journal May 2018

President’s Message
Director’s Message
People in the Profession
ITE News
ITE, FHWA, and Carmanah Rally to Keep Rectangular Rapid-Flashing Beacons in Our Safety Toolbox
Improving Arterial Roads to Support Public Health: How Can We Do This?
ITE’s Transportation and Health Initiative
Technical Programs Division Spotlight
Industry News
Calendar
Where in the World?
Member to Member: Jing Zhang, AICP, PTP, LEED AP ND
Countermeasures Prove Effective in Reducing Bicycle Collisions
Guidance on Signal Control Strategies for Pedestrians to Improve Walkability
Factors Affecting Vehicle Passing Distance and Encroachments While Overtaking Cyclists
Measuring the Success of Modal Shift: The Impact on Last Mile Connectivity
Professional Services Directory
ITE Journal May 2018 - 1
ITE Journal May 2018 - 2
ITE Journal May 2018 - 3
ITE Journal May 2018 - President’s Message
ITE Journal May 2018 - 5
ITE Journal May 2018 - Director’s Message
ITE Journal May 2018 - 7
ITE Journal May 2018 - People in the Profession
ITE Journal May 2018 - 9
ITE Journal May 2018 - 10
ITE Journal May 2018 - ITE News
ITE Journal May 2018 - ITE, FHWA, and Carmanah Rally to Keep Rectangular Rapid-Flashing Beacons in Our Safety Toolbox
ITE Journal May 2018 - Improving Arterial Roads to Support Public Health: How Can We Do This?
ITE Journal May 2018 - 14
ITE Journal May 2018 - 15
ITE Journal May 2018 - 16
ITE Journal May 2018 - ITE’s Transportation and Health Initiative
ITE Journal May 2018 - 18
ITE Journal May 2018 - Technical Programs Division Spotlight
ITE Journal May 2018 - Industry News
ITE Journal May 2018 - 21
ITE Journal May 2018 - Where in the World?
ITE Journal May 2018 - 23
ITE Journal May 2018 - 24
ITE Journal May 2018 - 25
ITE Journal May 2018 - 26
ITE Journal May 2018 - Member to Member: Jing Zhang, AICP, PTP, LEED AP ND
ITE Journal May 2018 - 28
ITE Journal May 2018 - Countermeasures Prove Effective in Reducing Bicycle Collisions
ITE Journal May 2018 - 30
ITE Journal May 2018 - 31
ITE Journal May 2018 - 32
ITE Journal May 2018 - 33
ITE Journal May 2018 - 34
ITE Journal May 2018 - Guidance on Signal Control Strategies for Pedestrians to Improve Walkability
ITE Journal May 2018 - 36
ITE Journal May 2018 - 37
ITE Journal May 2018 - 38
ITE Journal May 2018 - 39
ITE Journal May 2018 - Factors Affecting Vehicle Passing Distance and Encroachments While Overtaking Cyclists
ITE Journal May 2018 - 41
ITE Journal May 2018 - 42
ITE Journal May 2018 - 43
ITE Journal May 2018 - 44
ITE Journal May 2018 - 45
ITE Journal May 2018 - Measuring the Success of Modal Shift: The Impact on Last Mile Connectivity
ITE Journal May 2018 - 47
ITE Journal May 2018 - 48
ITE Journal May 2018 - 49
ITE Journal May 2018 - Professional Services Directory
ITE Journal May 2018 - 51
ITE Journal May 2018 - 52
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