PHL Installs Pedestrian Safety Enhancements on Airport Roadways

To enhance pedestrian safety on its roadways, Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) has installed an In Road Warning Light (IRWL) system on its Arrivals Road and Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacons (RRFB) on its South Commercial Road. The project also involved repaving, adding new raised crosswalks and making ADA compliant curb ramp improvements to the commercial vehicle side of the Arrivals Road; enlarging the taxi loading lane at B-C baggage claim; and installing bus shelters for rental car passenger pickup on the South Commercial Road.

“The airport places a priority on the safety of pedestrians crossing our roadways, which can become congested with both passenger and commercial vehicles particularly during peak travel times,” said Julie Coye, Airport Project Manager. “These improvements are designed for motorists to use caution and slow down on roadways where pedestrians frequently cross to get to and from the terminal buildings.”

IRWLs are flashing light-emitting diodes (LEDs) embedded in concrete in front of the crosswalk in the line of sight of drivers. On the Arrivals Roadways, IRWL systems were installed at each crosswalk. Departing and arriving pedestrians utilize the crossing lanes to access the parking garage from the baggage claim area and vice versa. The installation of the IRWL system increases pedestrian visibility at 21 crosswalks.

The South Commercial Road is not accessible to public vehicles, but is used for commercial vehicles such as taxis, limousines, and rental car shuttles as well as pedestrians accessing the SEPTA train platforms. Although pedestrian and vehicular traffic is less than the Arrivals Road, pedestrian crossing awareness on the South Commercial Road is still very much a safety priority. For this reason, Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacons (RRFB) were installed at 12 crosswalks. RRFBs are LEDs mounted on a crosswalk sign that flash when activated by a pedestrian. When a pedestrian steps onto the crosswalk, the bollard infrared beam breaks, activating the LEDs to alert drivers that a pedestrian is entering the crosswalk.


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Christine Ottow
Director of Strategic Communications
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Heather Redfern
Public Affairs Manager
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